Macau Visitor Arrivals Total 8.5 Million in Q1 of 2018

Macau Visitor Arrivals Total 8.5 Million in Q1 of 2018Macau has experienced a strong start to 2018, with 8.5 million people visiting the island resort in the first quarter of 2018, marking an 8.6% increase compared to the same period in 2017.
More than 85% of Macau’s traffic is accounted for by visitors originating in mainland China and Hong Kong, and during Q1 their numbers surged despite no corresponding increase in junket activity, indicating that the gambling hub is successfully managing to make its appeal more enticing to the mass market. Commenting upon the impressive development, JP Morgan analysts stated:
“Mass demand is growing to record highs. The pace that this recovery is occurring without any discernible rise in promotion suggests it’s a genuine demand recovery, not artificially pulled forward.”
March Visitor Numbers
March produced some exceptionally strong numbers, with tourism traffic rising by more than 9% to 2.7 million people, and Mainland China visitors up by roughly 10%, with the month helped by having an extra Saturday versus March 2017. As a result, Chinese visitor numbers are also up by a massive 13.4% over the first quarter of the year.
Meanwhile, gross gaming revenue (GGR) has followed a similar trend, with $3.21 billion generated in March, representing a 6.79% increase over the $3 billion taken in February, and a 22.2% improvement versus March 2017. Consequently, the world biggest gambling resort has now returned 21 straight months of year-on-year gains, with its GGR total for the whole of 2017 have risen by 19% to $33.13 billion.
Increasing Mass Appeal
After Chinese President Xi Jinping’s launched his anti-corruption campaign, Macau subsequently posted three years of falling revenue from 2014 and 2016. The island’s casino market was particularly hit my authorities targeting VIP junkets, leading casino operators to rethink their strategy and concentrate more on appealing to the general population.
This also coincides with a directive issued by the government to operators asking them to focus more on becoming well rounded tourist destination, like Las Vegas, with high roller gamblers no longer considered Macau’s most important source of revenue. Furthermore, the enclave can expect to receive an additional revenue boost after a number of infrastructure projects are completed, most noticeably a 34 mile bridge connecting Macau with Hong Kong and Zhuhai, a special economic zone situated on the southern coast of Guangdong province. The project will be finished this summer, and is expected to reduce the traveling time from the mainland to Macau from 4 hours to just 45 minutes.
Being Prepared
While Macau stand to benefit massively from infrastructure improvements and increasing numbers of visitors, industry experts have also warned that the island has to be prepared for a sudden surge in tourism. Macau Travel Industry Council President Andy Wu Keng Kuong, for instance, has cautioned that Macau has to be prepared to accommodate and cater to large quantities of visitors throughout the year, and not just during popular holidays periods, such as the Golden Week.
“We didn’t foresee there would be a jump in the number of tourists coming last weekend” explained Wu. “Related government departments should study more data in order to better organize and prepare for the growth of tourists.”
Macau introduced gambling back in 1850 when it was still a Portuguese colony, with the island subsequently returned back to China in 1999. Unlike the rest of China, however, the autonomous territory has continued to offer legal gambling, and in 2006 it overtook Las Vegas as the world’s biggest gambling hub.
These days, Macau boasts around 40 casino resorts, offering 6,419 table games, 15,622 slots, and 37,000 hotel rooms, with their ownership divided as follows between a number of major operators: Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (22), Galaxy Casino (6), Sands China (5), Melco Crown (4), Wynn Resorts (2) and MGM Grand Paradise (1).
As can be seen, US companies enjoy a strong presence in Macau, with Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts generating a great deal of their revenues from their operations in Asia, in the process helping to offset the slower growth these companies have experienced back home in the US.

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