Macau reported a decline in visitor arrivals in April, as the number of mainland Chinese travelling to the city fell for the second month in a row. Total visitors to Macau fell 3.4 percent year-on-year to 2.55 million in April, the city’s Statistics and Census Service said on Friday.
The total number of monthly visitors to the city has declined in three of the first four months of 2015. Total visitor arrivals in the four months to April 30 dropped by 3.6 percent from the prior-year period.
In April the number of tourists from mainland China decreased by 6.4 percent year-on-year to 1.63 million, but most of the reduction was in the lower spending package tour category. Government data also show that generally more affluent mainland visitors travelling under the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) rose slightly in April, by 0.5 percent from a year earlier.
Mainland Chinese accounted for 66.9 percent of the aggregate number of visitors in the first four months this year – or 6.66 million visitors, down by 3.7 percent year-on-year.
The number of Chinese tourists to Macau has been decreasing amid a decline in the spending power of mainland tourists, linked in part to a tightening in liquidity in the mainland property market, say some investment analysts. Competition from other casino destinations in the region and the negative publicity surrounding street protests in Hong Kong against mainland tourists have also been cited as factors.
Tourism receipts – excluding gaming expenses – dropped by 16.2 percent year-on-year to MOP13.36 billion (US$1.67 billion) in the first quarter of 2015, showed official data published last week. Spending of overnight visitors in Macau decreased by 21.1 percent year-on-year in the first quarter.
Visitor arrivals to Macau numbered 2.27 million in March, the lowest aggregate monthly figure in two and a half years, according to government data.
A decline in gaming spend by Macau mass market visitors is a worrying trend that could worsen in coming years, Karen Tang of Deutsche Bank AG said in a note on May 12.
SJM Holdings Ltd chief executive Ambrose So Shu Fai on Thursday stated that even though the mass market accounts now for a bigger share of total GGR, it “does not fill in the gap left by the VIP market”.
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”The Macau government is not aiming to trivialise or drive out the junket sector, but to regulate the sector so that it would not hurt Macau’s reputation”
Alvin Chau Cheok Wa
Chief executive of privately-held VIP junket business Suncity Group