Macau will see in 2020 the first year-on-year decline since 2015 in the city’s annual visitor arrival tally, with the full-year figure expected to be below 6 million, said on Wednesday Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO). Around half of that tally was recorded in January, with just above 2.8 million visitor arrivals in the opening month this year.
“I don’t think we will reach 6 million [visitor arrivals] this year,” Ms Senna Fernandes (pictured) told reporters on the sidelines of the Global Tourism Economy Forum. The MGTO director said 2020 had been a “very difficult year” for the tourism trade because of restrictions to stem the Covid-19 pandemic.
Macau received more than 39.4 million tourists in 2019, a nearly 10-percent rise on the 35.8-million visitor arrivals recorded in 2018, according to official data.
The last time annual visitor figures in Macau went down was in 2015. Arrivals for that year stood at 30.7 million, a year-on-year decrease of 2.6 percent.
Ms Senna Fernandes said MGTO was not expecting a peak in the number of visitor arrivals this month, as the December holiday period is not a “high travelling period” in mainland China.
“Right now, the only market that we can work on is mainland China, and the Christmas [holiday] is not a period of high travel in mainland China,” said the tourism boss. “We don’t anticipate a very high number of bookings,” she added.
The local tourism authority is currently planning more promotional activities in the mainland for next year. “We are at this point in time planning some ‘offline’ activities in major cities in the mainland in January, similar to what we’ve done in Beijing,” said Ms Senna Fernandes, referring to a marketing campaign called “Beijing Macao Week” that took place in late September.
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