The total number of tourist arrivals to Macau from January 27 to January 30 inclusive rose by 4.8 percent year-on-year, to 457,296. The first day of the current Chinese New Year fell on January 28.
A total of 65.3 percent of the arrivals in the period – amounting to 298,726 instances – were by visitors from mainland China, representing a year-on-year increase of 4.9 percent for that group.
The figures – reported by the Macao Government Tourism Office – were recorded by Macau’s Public Security Police, and measured the number of tourists passing through border checkpoints around the city. The tally excludes Macau non-resident employees and students.
The Chinese New Year period is usually a peak season for Macau’s gaming industry as hundreds of thousands of mainland Chinese tourists take advantage of the week-long break to visit the city.
Investment analysts however have noted in previous commentary on Macau that there need not be a direct correlation between numbers of tourists to Macau and gaming spend in casinos. This is because research indicates that high-stakes play by a relatively small number of visitors is still an important component of the market. Nonetheless, investors like to track Macau’s visitor numbers and gross gaming revenue (GGR) performance during Chinese New Year, for clues to possible trends in the rest of the calendar year.
“Commentary from the market remains especially positive, with full occupancy at leading resorts and especially strong traffic,” said a note on Monday from analyst Christopher Jones of the Buckingham Research Group Inc.
“It is periods such as Chinese New Year that the incremental room supply in Macau, will have an especially strong impact on the market,” said Mr Jones. He also made reference to the opening of Wynn Palace from Wynn Macau Ltd – with 1,700-rooms – and the Parisian Macao from Sands China Ltd – with 3,000 rooms – since the 2016 Chinese New Year holiday period.
Mr Jones further stated that for the week ended January 30, average daily revenues for table game in Macau came in at HKD540 million (US$69.6 million) compared to HKD470 million the previous week, which he said was “as expected,” given the contribution of two days of the Chinese New Year holiday in the most recent reporting period.
David Bain, an analyst at Aegis Capital Corp, wrote in a Monday note: “According to checks and other estimates, January 1 to January 29 Macau table-only gross gaming revenue was approximately MOP17.4 billion (US$$2.2 billion). Including slot assumptions, GGR checks would imply month-to-date MOP18.3 billion (US$2.3 billion).”
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Direct taxes on gaming collected by the Macau government in full calendar year 2018