Visitor arrivals to Macau during the Chinese New Year holiday period are so far up by 7.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the latest data available.
Preliminary figures from the city’s Public Security Police show Macau welcomed more than 418,000 visitors between Sunday and 9.30pm on Wednesday, public broadcaster Radio Macau reported.
Between Sunday and Tuesday, Macau recorded 249,000 arrivals by mainland Chinese visitors, an increase of 8.0 percent year-on-year compared to the equivalent period in 2015. Arrivals from mainland China made up 68 percent of total arrivals between Sunday and Tuesday.
The preliminary arrival figures also include migrant workers and other people living in Macau under different visa arrangements.
The 2016 Chinese New Year period in Macau lasts until the weekend. The annual holiday is usually a peak season for the city’s casino industry as hundreds of thousands of mainland Chinese tourists take advantage of the week-long break to visit Macau.
There is however no direct connection between overall tourism arrivals and casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau. While monthly GGR has been dropping by double-digit percentages in year-on-year terms since June 2014, the number of overall tourists declined by a more modest 2.6 percent – to about 30.7 million visitor arrivals – in 2015.
Grant Bowie, chief executive of MGM China Holdings Ltd, said in comments to reporters earlier this week he was optimistic about business prospects for Chinese New Year.
“Traditionally, the first two or three days are always quieter, but business is looking very strong for the rest of the Chinese New Year period,” Mr Bowie said, quoted by public broadcaster TDM.
Last month, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the Macao Government Tourism Office, told media in Macau she expected the total number of visitors to Macau in 2016 to rise by 1 percent year-on-year – under an “optimistic” estimate. She said the number of all visitors to the city during Chinese New Year 2016 was likely to rise by the same percentage, compared to the equivalent holiday period in 2015.
During 2015’s week-long holiday period for Chinese New Year, Macau registered almost 1.03 million visitor arrivals (including inward travel by imported workers and other people living in Macau under different visa arrangements), a decrease of 2.4 percent over the corresponding period in 2014.
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