The Chinese National Day holiday period and the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau (HKZM) Bridge spurred October growth in the tally of inbound visitors to Macau. The city’s Statistics and Census Service claimed so in a Friday announcement. October visitor arrivals totalled over 3.15 million, up by 9.2 percent year-on-year.
That figure represented a 23.2 percent sequential increase on the September tally, which had stood at over 2.56 million, according to the official data.
Since its opening on October 24 - to the end of October – inbound visitor arrivals to Macau via the HKZM Bridge totalled 71,640, according to the census service. The statistics did not include a breakdown of visitor arrivals by nationality.
“Information from the Statistics and Census Service indicated that in view of the National Day holiday and the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge,” the aggregate monthly number of visitor arrivals to Macau “surged by 23.2 percent month-to-month,” the statistics bureau said in a press release.
The document did not clarify how the bureau determined that the new bridge was providing incrementally more visitors to Macau, rather than possibly providing an alternative route for those visitors already planning to come.
In October as a whole, the number of visitors from mainland China to the coastal casino hub expanded by 12.1 percent year-on-year to approximately 2.31 million. The tally of visitors under the Individual Visit Scheme – mainland China’s exit permit system for outbound tourists travelling independently rather than in tour groups – was up 15.2 percent year-on-year in October, to approximately 1.11 million.
Macau welcomed “more than 890,000” visitors during the National Day holiday – a period also known as the October 1 Golden Week – according to Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) data. The tally – more than 80 percent of it stemming from visits by mainland Chinese – represented a year-on-year increase by 7.2 percent.
China’s State Council declared October 1 to October 7 as this year’s National Day holiday period.
In October as a whole, several of Macau’s other major feeder markets in Asia saw year-on-year decreases in visitor numbers. They were Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, India, Malaysia and Singapore. The exception was Hong Kong, where the number of visitors to Macau in the month grew by 9.3 percent year-on-year to 509,369.
Macau’s visitor arrivals in the ten months to October 31 increased by 8.4 percent from the prior-year period to 28.97 million. Mainland Chinese accounted for 70.9 percent of the aggregate number of visitors in the first ten months this year – or 20.53 million visitors, up by 13.1 percent year-on-year.
Investment analysts have said that headline visitor numbers are not directly correlated to overall gaming demand, as gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the Macau market has been typically skewed to high-end play.
Official data show that Macau’s monthly casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) rose by 2.6 percent year-on-year in October, to nearly MOP27.33 billion (US$3.38 billion). It was also the highest monthly tally since October 2014, when casino GGR in the city stood at MOP28.03 billion.
The number of overnight and same-day visitors to Macau in October rose by 5.4 percent and 13.2 percent year-on-year respectively, to nearly 1.55 million and 1.60 million. The average length of stay of visitors in that month held steady year-on-year at 1.2 days.
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”Many investors cite Golden Week as a catalyst to significant, sustainable visitation increases and a showcase for profitability for many casinos [in Macau]... However… we are concerned recovery estimates may again be pushed back”
Analyst at Roth Capital Partners