Macau reports bumper visitor numbers in October 

by Mia Chapman Last Updated
Macau reports bumper visitor numbers in October 

Macau authorities have reported the city had seen more than 600,000 visitor arrivals for October.

GGR Asia reports the figures, from the Macau Government Tourism Office.

If they are confirmed, the number would mark at least a 34 per cent increase on September’s visitor arrival tally, which stood at about 450,000.

The city’s Statistics and Census Service is due to announce the official October tally in late November.

A total of 156,300 visitor arrivals were recorded for autumn Golden Week in early October, a major holiday period for residents of mainland China.

Tourism bureau boss Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes also said in her Friday remarks that she anticipated a “slight improvement” in the city’s visitor arrivals for the current month, as major events, including the Macau Grand Prix motor racing meeting and Macau Food Festival were due to take place.

The official said currently Macau was welcoming “20,000 to 24,000” visitors a day.

Ms Senna Fernandes also mentioned that officials from China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism were in Macau, assessing local countermeasures on COVID-19 infection and observing the city’s tourism attractions.

The MGTO director said that she hoped the visit by the officials might be a contributing factor in the eventual resumption of package tours from the mainland to Macau, suspended since early this year, and thereby provide further support for the recovery of the city’s tourism trade.

In late October, the ministry said that businesses normally involved in, respectively, “inbound and outbound” package tours involving the mainland market: and bundled sale of “flights and hotels” were “not to resume” such trade for now, due to concerns that COVID-19 might make a comeback in China during cooler months.

Macau gaming figures on the up

The mass market growth of Macau’s casinos dramatically outpaced its flashier VIP counterparts in the third quarter, although the entire market remains down.

Calvin Ayre reported in October that Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau released figures on Friday that showed total casino gaming revenue of just US$612 million in the three months ending September 30, which is a whopping 93 per cent decline on the same period last year, but a 51 per cent improvement on the preceding quarter.

The VIP baccarat segment accounted for 48 per cent of the quarter’s total, a fraction of the same period last year, but up 51 per cent sequentially.

VIP’s share of the overall pie increased slightly from quarter two, but nonetheless took a back seat to mass market gaming for the seventh straight quarter.

Mass market gaming, including slots, gained, driven by a 77 per cent boost in mass baccarat revenue.

Interestingly, slot machine revenue fell 13 per cent from the second quarter, despite the sector adding 649 machines to its total in a bid to tempt electronic gambling fans.

About the only cause for celebration in the quarter was Macau Slot’s sports lottery, which reported football betting revenue nearly tripled from quarter two.

The return of European major league play caused football turnover to triple, while basketball betting enjoyed a similarly dramatic revenue surge.

Macau’s gaming market has posted six straight months of annual declines of at least 90 per cent and the recent Golden Week holiday failed to deliver the traditional surge of mainland gamblers.

Sanford C Bernstein analysts estimated the average daily gambling revenue was down 76 per cent from last year’s holiday period, despite Beijing approving the resumption of travel from Guangdong province in late September.

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