Authorities in Macau report that there hasn’t been a single Covid-19 case in in more than six months. The hospitality and tourism sector in the city are seeing positive signs of recovery since tourist visas for all Chinese tourists were allowed again on the 23rd of September, 2020. That month alone registered nearly four times the number of visitors from Mainland China compared to July. On top of that, October showed a further 35% increase from September.
According to reports by Statistics and Census Service shared by Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO), the relaxed visa policies and exemption of quarantine upon arrival have shown a slow yet continuous increase in visitor arrivals.
There are approximately 42,000 hotel rooms in Macau, excluding inns and guest houses. Occupancy rates at hotels currently range between 40% and 50%. The MGTO estimates that the number of daily visitor arrivals is close to 30,000.
Visa protocols have been relaxed for mainland Chinese people to enter Macau but there’s a potential inconvenience: long queues and the Covid-19 test process before receiving the necessary paperwork for entry. Specialists remain confident, however, about a gradual pick up of the hospitality sector, specially in the popular historic tourist zone.
“The Chinese government is promoting domestic travel,” said Rutger Verschuren, president of the Macau Hotel Association. “Those visiting Macau are not coming just for sight-seeing, they’re here to shop or visit the casinos. Most visitors come from the Greater Bay area: Guangdong, Zhongshan and Zhuhai. About 60% of them are day-trippers. Those who choose to spend the night are staying longer: an average 1.7 nights, as opposed to the previous 1.4 nights.
Experts in the tourism sector in Macau affirm that numbers are still 40% lower than in 2019. This is due to a combination of low occupancy and lower room rates. The difficult period of 2020 has made hotel management teams review organization charts, technologies, as well as how to run a more efficient operation.
A project for a new hotel, The Londoner, is on track to open in the first quarter of 2021 in early February in time for the Lunar New Year. The hotel is one of Sands China’s latest projects. Incoming travel from mainland China is expected to increase with more tourists traveling to Macau over the week-long festive holidays.
“The upcoming Chinese New Year will be a peak period over the year,” said Kris Kaminsky, senior vice president of Resort Operations, Sands China. “While all hospitality operators should anticipate lower figures than usual, we are confident that numbers will gradually rise.”