Macau welcomed approximately 410 tour groups from mainland China over the past weekend (September 2 and 3), according to preliminary figures from the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO). The tourism bureau did not mention how many tourists overall took part in those groups.
MGTO had asked its tour agent partners to suspend – between August 25 and September 1 inclusive – group tours to Macau, to allow the city time to recover from the effects of Typhoon Hato. Two days after the storm MGTO had also urged visitors to reconsider any upcoming trips to the city.
Not all tourists are gamblers, according to market research conducted locally, but mainland China is nonetheless the biggest single source of Macau’s tourists and an important source of gamblers patronising Macau’s casinos.
The tropical cyclone struck Macau on August 23, with wind speeds of more than 200 kilometres per hour (124 mph) according to the city’s weather bureau. Typhoon Hato – the strongest recorded storm in Macau for 53 years – caused 10 human fatalities, injured some 240 people and severely affected community life in the city.
The tally of visitors on group tours to Macau stood at 818,700 in July, an average of approximately 26,400 tourists per day, according to data from the city’s Statistics and Census Service. In the first seven months of 2017, visitors on group tours increased by 12.4 percent year-on-year to nearly 4.60 million, show official data.
One of the reasons MGTO cited for requesting the suspension of group tours to Macau was to allow time for hotels and guesthouses affected by Typhoon Hato to repair their respective facilities. Most hotels in Macau were expected to have resumed normal operations by early September, the president of the Macau Hoteliers and Innkeepers Association, Chan Chi Kit, said last week.
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Elsie Ao Ieong U
Macau Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture