Total visitor arrivals to Macau in full-year 2018 are likely to reach 35 million, up from the 32.6 million record set in 2017, estimates the head of the city’s tourism bureau.
Macau’s visitor arrivals in the 11 months to November 30 increased by 9.1 percent from the prior-year period to 32.2 million, show official data. Mainland Chinese accounted for 70.8 percent of the aggregate number of visitors in the first 11 months this year – or 22.81 million visitors – up by 13.3 percent year-on-year.
According to the Macao Tourism Industry Development Master Plan from the Macau government, total visitor arrivals to the city could reach 40 million in 2025.
The director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes (pictured), told reporters on Thursday that the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, in October, had helped further push up visitor arrivals to Macau. However, she noted that many of the visitors entering the city via the bridge were day-trippers, more interested on the experience of travelling on the mega-infrastructure itself than in visiting Macau’s landmarks.
The majority of gamblers in Macau’s casinos are tourists to the city, with overnight visitors generally regarded as of higher value to the local casino industry than day-trippers. But several investment analysts have said that Macau’s headline visitor numbers historically 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 GGR rose by 13.7 percent year-on-year in the first 11 months of 2018, to nearly MOP276.38 billion (US$34.29 billion).
Ms Senna Fernandes also told reporters on Thursday that MGTO and its Hong Kong counterpart – the Hong Kong Tourism Board – were planning to launch a joint study early next year on the impact, regarding tourist arrivals to the two Special Administrative Regions, of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.
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”They want us to invest as well. The government there wants to see growth in Macau. We are not that concerned about that issue [licence renewal] at all”
Chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands