A total of 12 million guests was recorded in Macau hotels and guesthouses in 2016, up by 13.6 percent from the previous year, show data disclosed on Friday by the city’s Statistics and Census Service. The average occupancy rate across all Macau hotel categories last year rose by 1.8 percentage points year-on-year to 83.3 percent.
Four-star hotels had the highest occupancy rates in Macau during calendar year 2016, with average utilisation at 86.3 percent, up by 5.7 percentage points year-on-year. Five-star hotels saw their occupancy rate increase by 0.3 percentage points to 83.7 percent, said the statistics bureau.
Visitor arrivals to Macau increased 0.8 percent year-on-year to 30.95 million in 2016, with the aggregate annual number of overnight visitors exceeding that of same-day visitors, according to official data. The aggregate number of overnight visitors last year exceeded 15.7 million, up by 9.8 percent year-on-year, accounting for 50.7 percent of total visitor arrivals to the city.
Despite the increase in the number of overnighters, hotel room rates in Macau have declined last year when measured in year-on-year terms, according to figures from the Macau Hotel Association. Investment analysts covering the gaming industry have referred to the need of Macau casino operators adjusting their tourism offer, in the context of Macau widening its appeal to mass-market tourists.
During calendar year 2016, the average price for Macau’s hotels – including 3-, 4- and 5-star hotels – stood at approximately MOP1,288 (US$161), 12.7 percent below the average cost a year earlier. Prices of 5-star hotels fell 11.6 percent year-on-year, to an average of MOP1,628 in 2016. Room rates for 4- and 3-star hotels declined by 14.5 percent and 17.3 percent year-on-year, respectively.
The U.S.-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a press release in November that the Macau casino operators’ ability to cut non-gaming prices – as seen in the hotel sector – “illustrated an important flexibility for maintaining Macau’s competiveness”.
The comments followed a November 3 to 14 visit to Macau by an IMF team, in order to conduct a regular review of Macau’s economy. Following the visit, the IMF said it supported the government’s push for more mass-market gaming and for more non-gaming tourism products in the city.
Macau’s tourist price index, which reflects the price change of goods and services purchased by visitors, fell by 5.4 percent year-on-year in 2016, data from the statistics bureau show. The decrease was mainly attributable to lower hotel room prices, down 21.2 percent year-on-year, the bureau said on January 13.
There were 107 hotels and guesthouses operating at the end of December 2016. The number of guest rooms totalled 36,300 at the end of last year, compared to nearly 32,300 rooms at the end of 2015.
Two new casino resorts have opened in Macau’s Cotai district this year, pushing up the total number of hotel rooms available in the city. Wynn Macau Ltd’s 1,700-room Wynn Palace and Sands China Ltd’s 3,000-room the Parisian Macao, launched on August 22 and September 13 respectively.
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"The [Macau] government has a lead in this subject in regards to what should be done after the [gaming] concessions expire. We will be first listening to what the government will say”
Ambrose So Shu Fai
Vice-chairman and chief executive at Macau casino operator SJM Holdings