The number of hotel rooms in Macau is set to almost double over the next few years.
Official data from the Macau government show there were 25 hotel projects under construction and 28 projects undergoing government approval at the end of last year. They would together provide close to 25,900 new hotel rooms to Macau. The data don’t give estimated completion dates for the new hotel projects.
Macau had around 27,900 hotel rooms at the end of last year.
The majority of the new supply will be located in Cotai, where the city’s six casino operators are all developing new large-scale casino resorts featuring hotels with hundreds of rooms each.
Executives in the gaming industry often state that Macau lacks enough hotel room inventory to satisfy demand from casino patrons, especially on weekends and peak periods. Tourism experts have also recurrently pointed out that the city lacks enough budget accommodation targeting the mass visitor market.
Hotel room rates across the city rose by 8.6 percent in 2014, according to the Macau Hotel Association. Occupancy rates were up by 1.4 percentage points year-on-year, to 90.5 percent, a high figure by international standards.
Around two thirds of Macau’s current hotel room inventory is located in five-star hotels, were room rates averaged MOP1,890 (US$237) per night in 2014.
Recent data however hint that the hotel sector is being hit by the slump impacting the Macau casino industry since June last year. That has been particularly obvious during the recent Lunar New Year holiday, in February, traditionally a peak season for both sectors.
According to data provided by the hotel industry to the Macau Government Tourist Office, during the seven-day long Lunar New Year holiday period, the average occupancy rate of three- to five-star hotels in Macau reached 87.5 percent, a decrease of 6.9 percentage points over the corresponding period last year. The average room rate dropped by 15.4 percent, to MOP2,019.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China