The head of Macao Government Tourism Office forecasts that the number of tourists visiting Macau during the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday period will show a 1 percent rise compared to a year earlier.
Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes (pictured) told reporters on Wednesday she also expected the total number of visitors to Macau in 2016 to go up by up to 1 percent – under an “optimistic” estimate. The city recorded about 30.7 million visitor arrivals last year, an annual decline of 2.6 percent.
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 non-local students), a decrease of 2.4 percent over the corresponding period in 2014. Mainland Chinese visitors accounted for 74 percent of the overall arrivals in that holiday period, according to data from the Macao Government Tourism Office – previously known in English as Macau Government Tourist Office.
The Chinese New Year holiday is typically a busy period for Macau’s casinos, as thousands of mainland Chinese visitors flock to the city to test their luck for the New Year. The Chinese New Year holiday period this year starts on February 7.
“China’s economy continues to grow, but the growth levels are lower than in previous years,” Ms Senna Fernandes noted in comments to reporters on Wednesday. Mainland China is the main feeder market for visitors to Macau.
She added that the global tourism industry was still facing challenges due to the sluggish recovery of the world economy. “We won’t see [in 2016] the same kind of [tourism] figures recorded in previous years,” she added, as quoted by Jornal Tribuna de Macau.
Ms Senna Fernandes said the Tourism Office would focus in 2016 on fostering diversification of tourism source markets – targeting in particular Singapore and Malaysia – and new tourism products.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China