Visitor arrivals to Macau in the fourth day of the autumn Golden Week holiday period were down by 87.8 percent from the prior-year period, to 18,747. The latest data puts the number of visitor arrivals to the city at 77,092 between October 1 and October 4 (Sunday), down 87.4 percent from a year earlier.
The preliminary figures from the city’s Public Security Police were compiled by the Macao Government Tourism Office.
After a day-on-day spike on October 2, at 22,116 arrivals, the daily number of visitors entering Macau during the Golden Week period has seen straight declines in the following days, namely to 20,726 on October 3, and to 18,747 on October 4.
The number of mainland visitor arrivals on October 4 was 17,595, a year-on-year decline of 86.4 percent. That pushed the aggregate tally of mainland Chinese tourists in the first four days of the holiday period to 72,684, down 86.2 percent from the prior-year period.
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.
Autumn Golden Week is usually a peak season for Macau’s tourism and gaming industries as hundreds of thousands of mainland Chinese tourists take advantage of the weeklong break to visit Macau.
The 2020 autumn Golden Week has been seen by a number of investment analysts as a key moment for gauging the likely strength of any comeback this year in casino gross gaming revenue for the Macau market, after the initial disruption wrought by Covid-19.
Since September 23, applications have been reopened across mainland China for tourism permits for trips to Macau, although analysts have suggested that for now, it is typically taking seven working days to process them.
A research paper by former analyst in the banking sector Michael Ting said that despite the recent relaxation in travel visas to Macau from the mainland, “the recovery in [casino] sector revenues has been weaker than expected.”
“Headwinds such as increased government scrutiny on capital outflow has likely hurt gaming sentiment demand from higher spending VIP and premium-mass players,” said the paper, produced on behalf of Singapore-based Smartkarma Innovations Pte Ltd.
Mr Ting said his research indicated that Macau’s gaming sector revenue growth during the autumn Golden Week period “could disappoint from the lofty expectations set when border restrictions first began to loosen.”
“From our channel checks with junkets, the number of VIP players coming to Macau during Golden Week is significantly below seasonal trends,” he added. “We believe the weakness in VIP is also likely to translate to premium-mass players as the financial profile of these two groups of players are similar as both could be facing liquidity constraints in Macau on top of already weak gaming demand sentiment.”
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“We see that basically the ‘golden’ periods [for Macau's casino industry] are all concentrated in the second half of this year”
Lei Wai Nong
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance