Macao’s total visitor arrivals rose a nominal 0.8% to a new record 30.95m in 2016, with nearly 28m travelling from Greater China markets (+0.1%), a slight increase of 0.1%, whereas the much smaller international visitor arrival total grew by 7.9%.
This will be encouraging news for DFS Macao in particular, plus Duty Free Americas, Dufry and many other standalone retailers currently operating shops in Macao’s hotels and tourist district.
MACAU GAMBLING ON CASINO RECOVERY
The increase also comes at a time when Macao’s casino business appears to be recovering some of its big spenders, with last December’s revenue up an impressive 8%.
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Most of these big ’high rollers’ were put off visiting the location, following Beijing’s crack down on irresponsible gambling by some mainlanders three years ago.
Having said that, there was still a 3% fall in Macao’s overall gambling revenue to $28bn last year and this is still the Special Administrative Region of China’s biggest source of revenue by far [three times the gambling revenues generated in Las Vegas-Ed].
Macao also continues to be only territory anywhere in China that is allowed to operate casinos.
MACAU STILL NEEDS A LOT MORE HOTEL ROOMS
The huge new bridge being constructed to link Hong Kong and Macao and the planned expansion of ferry operations to Macao are also expected to greatly increase visitor arrivals – although this expansion will only as good as the number of hotel rooms that are available – around 35,000 at present.
In the meantime, the MGTO says it continue to work towards completing the tourism development goals in the 5- year development plan formulated by the SAR Government aimed at turning Macao into a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure.
Macao welcomed more than 20m Mainland visitors last year, up by 0.2%, with 44% from Guangdong Province. There were also nearly 9.56m ‘independent’ visitors from the Mainland. An increase of 8.8% was recorded for the Taiwan market, whereas the sum of Hong Kong visitors dropped by 1.8%.
HALF A MILLION KOREANS VISITED MACAU LAST YEAR
As for international markets, South Korea still ranked highest, contributing over 660,000 visitors to Macao last year (+20%). Southeast Asian markets also performed well, with visitors from Thailand registering the largest growth of over 30% among the top ten source markets.