Five out of 23 Macau hotels polled in a Morgan Stanley survey were already fully booked for China’s October Golden Week holiday period, according to a Monday memo from the banking institution.
They were: Ritz-Carlton Macau located at the Galaxy Macau resort (pictured), and StarWorld Hotel, two properties run by Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd; Morpheus at City of Dreams Macau, and Studio City, both run by Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd; and Four Seasons Macao, a Sands China Ltd property.
“We are seeing meaningful improvement in occupancy before and during Golden Week, but average daily revenue” in terms of casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) “remains weak,” stated analysts Praveen Choudhary, Gareth Leung and Thomas Allen. They cited proprietary research.
October Golden Week this year incorporates the lunar-calendar based Mid-autumn Festival, as well as China’s October 1 National Day. China’s State Council has designated October 1 to October 8, inclusive, as the holiday period.
The Morgan Stanley team noted that for 2019 Golden Week, 19 out of 23 Macau hotels it had surveyed in early September that year, were already fully booked at the time for the holiday period.
The Morgan Stanley analysts added: “National Individual Visit Scheme [tourism visas] will resume from September 23, one week before October Golden Week, which should drive hotel occupancy higher.”
Applications for exit visas from Guangdong province for tourist visits to Macau under the Individual Visit Scheme, were opened again on August 26, by the mainland authorities. Applications for permits for people in other parts of China are to restart on September 23.
Such mainland visitors will still need to produce a certificate showing they are free from Covid-19 infection, and it must have been issued within seven days of their arrival in Macau.
Morgan Stanley noted in its Monday report that “some of the mainland colleges decided to shorten students’ holiday from eight days to four days to catch up on their academic progress and to prevent crowded traffic”. The brokerage stated this would “have a minor impact” on the Golden Week business performance in Macau, “as Chinese visitors aged 15-24 accounted for only 10 percent” of 2019 visits by Chinese to Macau, as they were “not the key casino customers”.
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"The Macau recovery continues to be disrupted by false starts, while the lack of [Chinese] public holidays for rest of the year should cap the pace of the rebound”
Andrew Lee and David Katz
Analysts at brokerage Jefferies LLC