Macau visitor volume is likely to be strong during the Christmas season despite relatively cold weather for southern China – and it not being a holiday period in the city’s main tourism source market, the Chinese mainland – say representatives of the gaming and travel sectors respectively, in comments to GGRAsia.
The Chinese mainland takes January 1 – a Monday this time – as a holiday, and its preceding weekend, according to China’s State Council. Macau’s neighbouring special administrative region, Hong Kong – which supplies as much as a quarter of Macau’s monthly visitors – has Christmas Day (December 25) and the following day, as public holidays, as well as New Year’s Day.
“We still, see quite a lot of mainland Chinese traveller traffic in Macau these days,” said Hoffman Ma Ho Man, deputy chairman of Success Universe Group Ltd, an investor in casino resort Ponte 16, located at Macau’s Inner Harbour district.
“Macau and Hong Kong both have stronger Christmas mood, which is appealing as a destination to mainland Chinese visitors,” Mr Ma told GGRAsia.
He added: “For us, gaming patron traffic in December has also been decent so far.” Ponte 16 runs gaming under the licence of Macau concessionaire SJM Holdings Ltd.
The Ponte 16 boss additionally noted that in the case of his resort – which has a Sofitel-branded five-star hotel – rooms have already been circa “80 percent” booked from Saturday (December 23) onward.
He saw some “parallels” with the summer-holiday season of August, in terms of December’s likely visitor volume and gross gaming revenue [GGR).
In August, Macau logged over 3.22 million visitor arrivals - a monthly record for 2023 up to the end of November - according to available data from the city's Statistics and Census Service.
August was second-best month so far in 2023 in terms of casino GGR, which reached MOP17.21 billion (US$2.1 billion). The monthly record in the first 11 months was in October, when the city generated GGR of MOP19.50 billion.
The city’s full-December GGR could reach MOP17 billion , or a daily run rate of about MOP550 million, due to business being expected to “edge up further” in the remaining days of the month and into the year-end holidays, suggested JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd in a Monday memo.
Macau’s average hotel occupancy from Christmas onwards might reach “80 percent”, with that for the Cotai resorts possibly edging even higher because of the particular appeal their hotels held for trippers, remarked Andy Wu Keng Kuong, president of the Macau Travel Industry Council, in his comments to GGRAsia.
High hotel occupancy is expected despite Macau having circa 20 percent more rooms, i.e., close to 46,000 hotel rooms, compared to 38,000 rooms in 2019.
Mr Wu stated: “That is because we expect Macau could see up to 100,000 visitor arrivals a day,” for the period running from Christmas to calendar New Year’s Eve. He added: “We have visitors from Hong Kong that complement our inbound tourism trade during Christmas."
He echoed Mr Ma's observations on the appeal of Christmas-related settings for visitors from mainland China.
Mr Wu said: "The festive mood in Macau is strong, and for that we expect that we are able to attract visitors from Guangdong [province] to come here.”
Macau could receive up to “28 million visitors” for the full year of 2023, suggested the city’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, earlier this month. He noted Macau had already welcomed more than 25 million tourists in the first 11 months of 2023.
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