Macau is expecting “steady growth” in visitor arrivals for the second half of 2017, with the possibility there will be new casino resorts opened in the period, said Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
Ms Senna Fernandes said Macau’s tourism-related data in the first half of 2017 were “very positive” and she believed the number of visitor arrivals would continue to rise for the rest of the summer.
“Obviously we don’t expect a double-digit increase [this summer]… but we would expect a single digit increase in terms of our visitor arrivals,” she stated as quoted by public broadcaster TDM.
“We would also expect the hotel occupancy rates to be over 80 percent on average for the summer period,” she added.
Figures from Macau’s Statistics and Census Bureau showed that the number of visitors arriving to Macau in the first half of 2017 totalled nearly 15.6 million, up 5.4 percent compared to the prior-year period.
“We look forward to – probably from September to the end of the year – the possibility of new hotels coming in [Cotai], so we believe that that would also entice other groups of visitors to come to Macau,” she said.
The MGTO director also confirmed that MGM Cotai, an under-construction casino resort project of Macau gaming operator MGM China Holdings Ltd, is currently going through licensing process with MGTO.
Ms Senna Fernandes made the comments on the sidelines of a graduation ceremony for a lion dance training programme for young people organised by MGM China.
Grant Bowie, the chief executive of MGM China, who also attended the ceremony, said the company did not yet know how many gaming tables would be allocated to the MGM Cotai project under the local government’s table cap scheme.
While reiterating that MGM Cotai was due to open in the fourth quarter this year, the MGM China CEO did not give specifics.
“In terms of final date [for the opening of MGM Cotai], we hope to be able to announce that very soon. We are still working with the government on all the approvals, including [gaming] tables,” said Mr Bowie, also quoted by TDM.
MGM Cotai is a HKD26-billion (US$3.3-billion) project in Macau’s Cotai district. MGM China currently operates a single property, MGM Macau, in the city’s traditional downtown casino district.
MGM Cotai will offer approximately 1,400 hotel rooms and suites, meeting space, a luxury spa, shops and restaurants. MGM China recently announced that the property will include a 2,000-seat theatre. The firm called it “Asia’s first dynamic theatre” and said it would be able offer 10 different options of seating arrangement.
Banking group Morgan Stanley forecast earlier this week that MGM Cotai would achieve adjusted property earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of US$233 million in full-year 2018.
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“We see that basically the ‘golden’ periods [for Macau's casino industry] are all concentrated in the second half of this year”
Lei Wai Nong
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance