Macau aims to increase number of visitors from overseas

Macau aims to expand the tourism recovery beyond China.
Macau aims to expand the tourism recovery beyond China.

The MGTO will focus on attracting international visitors, while MICE tourism also remains a priority.

Macau.- Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, the director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) says Macau will aim to increase the number of international visitors this year. Speaking at a public event, she said that the MGTO aims to increase the percentage of non-Chinese visitors beyond the 2.2 per cent achieved in January.

Direct air services and links with the neighbouring regional transport hub of Hong Kong are expected to contribute to this effort.

According to data from Macau’s Statistics and Census Service, people from the Philippines, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan, and the United States made up just 1.4 per cent of Macau’s 1.39 million visitor arrivals in January

Under their new 10-year gaming concessions, casino operators were asked to work to increase the number of overseas gamblers. In December, casino operators were allowed to build gaming zones exclusive to foreign gamblers to gain an exemption on a 5 per cent levy on gross gaming revenue from these areas.

Macau’s goal to expand the high-end tourism segment was outlined in the Macao Tourism Industry Development Master Plan issued in November 2021. The plan aims to increase the proportion of high-value visitors by marketing promotion activities towards high-value target segments in mainland China and overseas.

The six Macau casino concessionaires have committed to investing MOP118.8bn between them during the new 10-year licence period. As part of these investments, the companies have announced plans to set up overseas offices and target international markets, including Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India, and Thailand.

Fernandes noted that the daily visitor arrival average for February was 57,000, with 1.60 million arrivals in the month.

In 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, Macau had 39.4 million visitor arrivals, with the Greater China region (the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan) accounting for 92.2 per cent and the remaining 7.8 per cent from overseas.

Approximately MOP600m (US$74.2m) has been allocated this year to boost inbound tourism. The funds will mainly cover roadshows in China and elsewhere and subsidised promotions, such as a ‘buy-one-get-one free’ offer on selected air tickets. 

Macau aims to grow its MICE Sector

One way Macau aims to bring in more visitors is by expanding its MICE sector, which it sees as vital to its plans to diversify beyond gaming, which provides around 85 per cent of government revenues. Macau’s chief executive, Ho Iat Seng, has met with China’s vice minister of commerce, Wang Shouwen, to discuss its plans.

New venues, such as Galaxy‘s 16,000-seat arena and exhibition centre, are set to come online in the second quarter, while hotel room supply continues to increase despite labour shortages. While the Cotai Strip remains the hub for MICE activities, the focus is now shifting to Hengqin.

Macau: special visa system for Hengqin could boost tourism

Andy Wu Keng Kuong, president of the Macau Travel Industry Council, has suggested that a special visa system that permits entry to Macau and mainland China’s Hengqin Island in a single visit could increase the average length of stay of overseas visitors. 

Currently, Macau and mainland China have different visa policies and procedures for overseas visitors, but Wu Keng Kuong noted that Macau and Hengqin have complementary tourism products.

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