Macau expecting average of 47K tourists during Chinese New Year peak

 Tuesday, January 17, 2023 


With expectations that the Chinese New Year holiday will bring in up to 60,000 at its peak, Macau is averaging around 47,000 tourists. This is a sharp increase from the past three Covid years during which the tourism sector suffered heavily due to the border restrictions imposed.

Tourism is the backbone of Macau’s economy, and much of it geared towards gambling, which was legalised in the 19th century and has since been the linchpin of the economy and an important source of revenue for the government.

In an interview with TDM Canal Macau the head of the tourism bureau said that “we won’t have 55,000 visitors every day, but we are still expecting an average of 47,000 visitors”, Asia Gaming Brief portal reported.

The portal further stated that the current expectations are for an average of 47,000 daily tourists during the Chinese New Year period. The mainland authorities have designated the Chinese New Year holiday period as running from January 21st to 27th, 2023.

Macau’s Special Administrative Region’s (SAR) tourism authority has noted that 55,000 tourists had entered the city on Saturday smashing previous visitation records during the pandemic period.

Macau recently dropped its entry restrictions for visitors from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong and eliminated all quarantine requirements for visitors from non-Chinese nations. Despite the relaxation of measures on January 8th, group tours have yet to be authorized by mainland authorities, even though visitors are entering on individual visas and joining local tours upon arrival in the SAR.

Speaking of the group tours, the head of the tourism bureau lamented the lack of organized visitation, noting that “we still don’t have tour groups, we still haven’t received any updates (from mainland Chinese authorities) regarding that, and until we can resume that form of travel than we might not be able to return to the levels we were seeing in 2019”.

Nearly 1 million mainland Chinese residents have also reportedly applied for entry permits to Macau and Hong Kong since authorities relaxed their measures, and improved transit between the two specially administrated regions and mainland China.

Macau, besides targeting tourists from its main source market which is mainland China, is also eyeing Hong Kong for an influx of visitors. Macau expects up to 10,000 visitors from the neighboring SAR Hong Kong, if transportation improves.

Despite the improvements in travel, a wave of infections sweeping mainland China and the two SARs, Macau and Hong Kong, has some worried, with Beijing authorities noting that 60,000 deaths were recorded in just one day, and estimates that up to 1 million COVID deaths have been recorded in mainland China just this year.

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