The Macau government is discussing with local hotels and “integrated resorts” (casino resorts or “IRs”), promotions aimed at local residents for so-called staycations during August, said Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes in comments on Saturday to the local media amid the ongoing Covid-19 alert.
The reports of the tourism boss’s comments did not clarify whether that might mean government subsidies for consumers, and-or hoteliers. The local authorities have a government-subsidised scheme for residents to go on local tours. Macau is spending more than MOP280 million (US$35.1 million) on those products, branded “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours”, to help local travel agencies.
Meanwhile, promotions currently run individually by the city’s hotel operators, and targeted at local residents, were yet to make any major impact on occupancy levels of local hotels, the tourism official remarked.
The average occupancy rate across Macau’s three- to five-star hotel segment in January to May this year was 25.9 percent, according to data released last week by the Macau Hotel Association. Before the global health crisis, occupancy rates were typically much higher. For May in particular, overall occupancy in the three- to five-star properties represented by the association fell to 9.3 percent.
“I believe that during Monday to Friday, a majority of people here would not choose to stay at hotels. Even for the fact that the hotels are offering some promotions, people tend to choose [to stay] during weekends because they want to use the resorts’ facilities,” Ms Senna Fernandes remarked to the media on the sidelines of a public event on Saturday.
“So the occupancy rate [of Macau hotels] so far has not seen any apparent signs of rebound, and it is still standing at a low level,” the MGTO boss added, “We are discussing with the hotels and even the integrated resorts…to stage more promotions [for Macau residents] in August.”
Currently Macau has a supply of over 40,000 guest rooms, Ms Senna Fernandes noted.
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a reduced flow of visitors to Macau, coinciding with entry restrictions put in place in the city and regionally, to stem the spread of the virus.
On Saturday Ms Senna Fernandes noted some adjustments were being considered to the “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” initiative.
The tours scheme started June 22 and runs until September 30. The MGTO boss said that over 70,000 local residents had enrolled for the tours so far.
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”The travel/border policy between mainland China and Macau will fully normalise by the end of September (i.e., before the all-important October Golden Week)”
DS Kim, Derek Choi and Jeremy An
Analysts at JP Morgan Securities