Visitor arrivals to Macau topped 2.91 million in November, down 10.9 percent year-on-year, show the latest data from the city’s Statistics and Census Service released on Thursday. It was the first monthly decline measured year-on-year during 2019, according to official data.
Macau had an aggregate of just above 1.50 million same-day visitors last month, a 10.5 percent contraction compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, the tally of overnight visitors dropped by 11.4 percent year-on-year to nearly 1.41 million.
In early December, the head of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, told local media that the city might see arrivals data for November and December record a year-on-year contraction of inbound tourism.
Ms Senna Fernandes said at the time that months of protests in neighbouring Hong Kong were likely to prove a factor, especially in terms of people travelling to Macau as part of tour groups.
The average length of stay of visitors held steady year-on-year in November, at 1.2 days. On average, overnight visitors extended their stay by 0.2 days to 2.4 days, while the duration of trip for same-day visitors stood at 0.2 days, said the statistics bureau.
In November the number of visitors from mainland China fell by 11.1 percent year-on-year to slightly above 2.03 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 down 14.9 percent year-on-year last month, to 898,715.
Macau’s visitor arrivals in the first 11 months of 2019 rose by 12.7 percent from the prior-year period to just above 36.32 million, surpassing the aggregate tally for full-year 2018. Same-day visitor numbers rose by 23.8 percent year-on-year in the period, to nearly 19.17 million; while the number of overnight visitors increased by 2.4 percent to approximately 17.16 million.
Mainland China residents accounted for 71.1 percent of the aggregate number of visitors in the 11 months to November 30, or nearly 25.83 million visitors, up 13.2 percent from the prior-year period.
The total of visitor arrivals to Macau in full-year 2018 was slightly above 35.80 million, up 9.8 percent from 2017, according to official data.
Investment analysts have said that headline visitor numbers need not be positively correlated to overall gaming demand, as gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the Macau market has been typically skewed to high-end play.
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"The most worrying [thing] is whether [mainland] China will again tighten the issuance of travel visas [for visits to Macau]"
Luiz Lam Kai Kuong
Macau junket investor