The aggregate of visitors to Macau in February – the period of the Chinese New Year holiday this lunar cycle – fell 23.3 percent month-on-month, according to data released on Monday by the city’s Statistics and Census Service. Macau’s February tally of arrivals was 427,122.
The result was in the context of “the prevention and control measures imposed in different places against the pandemic of novel coronavirus pneumonia,” said the statistics bureau.
Currently only mainland China has a largely quarantine-free travel bubble with Macau.
Prior to the Chinese New Year festivities during a period encompassing February 11 to February 17, authorities on the mainland urged their citizens not to travel outside their place of residence during the holiday, to avoid the risk of spreading Covid-19.
A quarter of Macau’s February visitors – or 106,452 – were from Zhuhai, next door to Macau, in the mainland’s Guangdong province.
The Zhuhai arrivals, plus other visitors classified as also travelling from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, amounted to 240,933 of February’s arrivals, or 56.4 percent of Macau’s total that month.
In terms of source of visitors, the number of mainland visitors leapt by 426.4 percent year-on-year to 380,649.
Macau’s February visitor tally was up 173.1 percent year-on-year relative to the period when “the pandemic spread in February last year”.
Those mainlanders using China’s exit visa initiative for independent travellers, known as the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS), amounted to 163,157 in February, up by 2,702.4 percent year-on-year.
There were 40,037 visitors with Hong Kong travel documents, and 6,410 with Taiwan travel documents.
The February tally of overnight visitors (245,309) and same-day visitors – at 181,813 – rose by 225.8 percent and 124.2 percent year-on-year respectively.
In the first two months of 2021, the number of Macau visitor arrivals declined by 67.3 percent year-on-year to 983,887, said the latest data from the statistics bureau.
The two-month aggregate of overnight visitors (514,256) and same-day visitors – at 469,631 – shrank by 63.1 percent and 70.9 percent year-on-year respectively.
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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