Rolling into Golden Week, China’s annual excuse to give its people an opportunity to take a holiday, analysts predicted that Macau’s traffic will increase significantly over 2018’s. It was said that this would come because properties offered more accommodation and discounts than before but that the numbers gambling would be down.
While the rationale may have been that more people willing to play would be drawn by the bid, critics noted that this would not be the case. These reports have been right on the money with the week virtually over the traffic is up and betting is down.
By Thursday visitation trended upward compared to the same time last year, keeping with what was seen throughout the week. The Public Security Police submitted rough calculations of the number of people entering the city, suggesting that more than 163,800 had emerged. As expected, the majority of the 140,300 were from mainland China, resulting in an increase of 10.6 million compared to last year’s same day.
Over the whole Golden Week, about 890,000 visitors dropped in on Macau in 2018. Eighty percent of them came from Mainland China, and the overall figure was 7.2 percent higher than the previous year. So far this year, the daily average has risen 10 percent over what was seen last year over the first three days of the holiday period, hitting a total of 460,900 visitors.
Of that number, Mainland China accounts for 86.3 million, indicating that around 397,900 mainlanders, 9.9 percent more than last year, have so far gone down on Macau. This is a good sign for the city, as more visitors mean more shoppers and more cash for the local economy, in particular its gambling operation. It’s not that dry cut, though.
It would seem that tourists are coming and purchasing the odd meal or souvenir here and there, but they certainly no longer invest in the casinos. SJM Holdings CEO Ambrose So Shu Fai was monitoring the figures closely to see how this week’s success will shift, but can only conclude the reception was, at best, lackluster.
In reality, he says gaming was “a bit worse than expected: we thought more traffic would bring better income but it was not really the case” And he added that the VIP segment was especially soft compared to before, which is where casinos normally get a decent boost. He points out that the overall hotel occupancy rate was hovering about 90 percent at the company’s properties in Macau, but those guests were evidently sidelining the casino floors for other local options.