Macao’s tourist price index fell by 1.05 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2020, according to data released on Wednesday by the city’s Statistics and Census Service.
The index reflects price changes in goods and services typically purchased by visitors, but excludes gaming. Tourists form the majority of the gamblers using Macau’s casinos.
The statistics bureau said the year-on-year decrease in the tourist price index was mainly due to “lower hotel room rates and falling prices of handbags and clothing”. The quarterly decline was partially offset by the “rising charges for restaurant services and dearer prices of jewellery,” said the bureau.
The data shows that the price index covering accommodation recorded a fall of 5.79 percent compared to the previous year, while the price index of clothing and footwear was down by 13.53 percent percent year-on-year.
The latest released data from Macao Government Tourism Office showed a drop of 27.2 percent in the room rate of the city’s three-star to five-star hotels year-on-year to MOP1,086.2 (US$136.05) for February. The figures were published by the Macau Hotel Association.
Several of the city’s hotels were closed for a certain period of time in February and March, due to a slowdown in tourism caused by restrictions to stem the further spread of the Covid-19 disease.
Restrictions put in place regionally and globally in an attempt to contain the coronavirus pandemic have had a negative impact on travel and tourism. Such restrictions were first enforced in January in mainland China, a major source of tourists for the city, and have been tightened in recent weeks.
Governments have warned against non-essential travel and several jurisdictions have stopped foreign arrivals altogether.
The tourist price index in the three months to March 31 was down 2.17 percent sequentially. Price indices of clothing and footwear and accommodation decreased by 16.02 percent and 5.04 percent respectively, “owing to seasonal sale of winter clothing and lower hotel room rates”.
The average index for the last four quarters ended March 31 was down 0.82 percent from the prior-year period, stated the bureau. The decline was on the account of decreases in the price indices of clothing and footwear (-6.85 percent) and accommodation (-5.10 percent), showed the latest data.
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