The director of Macau’s gaming regulator, Paulo Martins Chan, says he is “optimistic” about casino gross gaming revenue performance in the city in the upcoming Chinese New Year period.
The annual holiday is usually a peak season for Macau’s gaming industry as hundreds of thousands of mainland Chinese tourists take advantage of the week-long break to visit the city.
Mr Chan, head of Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, also told reporters on Wednesday that hotel room bookings for the upcoming Chinese New Year period were strong. But he noted that the first two days of the Chinese New Year holiday were generally softer in terms of visitor traffic in Macau than the remainder of the week-long holiday period.
According to data collated by GGRAsia, occupancy levels for most of the hotels in casino properties in Macau are likely to be strong during the Chinese New Year. Some properties already had no rooms available for the holiday period as of last Tuesday.
The first day of the Chinese New Year in 2017 falls on January 28 (Saturday).
Macau’s Public Security Police said on Thursday it expected the number of visitors to Macau during the Chinese New Year period to increase between 2 percent and 3 percent compared to the same festive period in 2016. A police spokesperson added that most visitors were expected to arrive in Macau between the second and seventh day of the Lunar New Year – from January 29 to February 3.
The police stated it would implement crowd-controlling measures in several areas of Macau during the week-long holiday period, especially between 9am and 1pm, the Portuguese-language channel of public broadcaster Radio Macau reported.
Data from the Public Security Police made available by the Macao Government Tourism Office shows the number of visitor arrivals to Macau between Monday and Wednesday this week totalled approximately 306,000, up by 9.4 percent compared to the same festive period in 2016. Visitors from mainland China accounted for about 76.5 percent of all arrivals or 234,000 visitor arrivals, an increase of 9.1 percent year-on-year.
Macau’s Civil Aviation Authority announced on Wednesday the approval of a total of 40 extra and charter flights to and from mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, to meet demand during the Chinese New Year period. Ferry operator TurboJet also announced it would increase capacity by approximately 50 percent for routes between Hong Kong and Macau from January 27 to February 5 “to cope with demand surge”.
The Chinese New Year holiday is also a popular period for Macau people to travel overseas.
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Analyst at Morningstar Asia