Macau had an aggregate of “over 39.4 million” tourism arrivals for full-year 2019; an approximately 10-percent rise on the 35.8-million visitor arrivals recorded in 2018. That was according to an update released by the city’s Public Security Police on Wednesday.
The police also noted that approximately “28 million” of 2019′s tourism arrivals were generated by people from mainland China. The other major sources of the city’s visitor arrivals were, in descending order: Hong Kong; Taiwan; South Korea; the Philippines; Japan; the United States; Malaysia; Indonesia; Thailand; India; Singapore; and Australia.
According to the police data, the Border Gate checkpoint linking the city’s northernmost district to the neighbouring city of Zhuhai in mainland China’s Guangdong province, maintained in 2019 its traditional role as busiest entry point. It recorded a total of 145 million entries and exits. The figure includes not only tourists but people that commute either daily or regularly for work and other purposes between the two cities.
The tally of Border Gate traveller traffic accounted for 75 percent of all entries and exits to Macau in 2019, according to the police. Other entry points include the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge linking Hong Kong’s Lantau Island to Macau. The bridge first opened to specially-licensed traffic in 2018.
In 2019 an aggregate of 13.3 million traveller trips of all types – i.e., tourist and non-tourist journeys – in and out of Macau went via the bridge. Such volume represented 7 percent of all trips made across the city’s checkpoints, said the Public Security Police.
Macau’s other main checkpoints are: the Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal at the Outer Harbour; the Pac On Ferry Terminal at Taipa; the Macau International Airport; and the Lotus Bridge linking the mainland’s Hengqin Island to Macau’s Cotai casino district.
The head of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, had noted in early December that Macau might see arrivals data for the last two months of 2019 record a year-on-year contraction of inbound tourism, and that therefore the city would not exceed the ’40-million’ forecast made in October for full-year 2019 in October.
A number of investment analysts has said that headline visitor numbers to Macau need not be positively correlated to overall gaming demand, as gross gaming revenue in the Macau market has been typically skewed to high-end play.
In early 2020, a new, upgraded checkpoint linking Hengqin to Cotai – capable of handling up to 220,000 traveller movements per day – will come into service. Use of the Lotus Bridge checkpoint will in consequence be phased out, according to a government statement.
From January 23 the Wanzai, Zhuhai to Inner Harbour, Macau checkpoints will be reopened after a pause lasting several years. The facilities provide an additional link between Zhuhai and Macau peninsula, via short ferry ride. The combined facilities there will be able to process 3,840 passengers per hour, according to a Macau government press notice.
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"The initial expectation for the October Golden Week was that the Cotai casino resorts might see an average occupancy rate at 80 percent to 90 percent. But that rate now might stand at just 50 percent to 60 percent... following Macau’s news of the new Covid-19 infection cases”
Andy Wu Keng Kuong
President of the Macau Travel Industry Council