Typhoon Mujigae threatens to rain on Macau’s Golden Week parade

macau-golden-week-typhoon-mujigaeMacau casinos can’t seem to buy a break, as Typhoon Mujigae dampens visitation during the Golden Week holiday.

Macau casinos have traditionally enjoyed a healthy revenue bump in October as Chinese tourists flock to the island during the weeklong national holiday, which kicked off last Thursday. The bump would be especially welcome this year, as Macau reported its 16th straight month of revenue decline in September.

The early numbers were favorable, with total visitor arrivals up 7.6% on Oct. 1, while mainland Chinese visitation rose 18.3%. Over the first three days, the total number of mainland tourists was up 16.4% year-on-year.

But then Mujigae, which had been brewing offshore for a number of days, hit Macau with torrential rain and strong winds. The effect was much stronger on the mainland, particularly in Guangdong province, from which Macau draws most of its visitors. Nearly 200k residents were ordered to evacuate as China issued a red alert – its highest weather-related warning.

Mujigae came ashore near the city of Zheijang and reportedly spawned tornadoes in Foshan and Guangzhou. At least seven people have reportedly been killed, while hundreds more have been injured. There have been widespread power outages and air and sea transportation operations have been drastically reduced.

Accordingly, Sunday’s visitation to Macau fell 20.3% from the same day last year, although it should be noted that Oct. 4, 2014 was a Saturday. Regardless, the decline brought total visitation for Golden Week’s first four days to a gain of just 1.9%.

Macau has yet to issue official visitor stats for September, but the Statistics and Census Service reported that August visitation was down 3.8% year-on-year, while visitation by mainland Chinese fell 1.7%. Visitation is also down 3.2% through the first eight months of 2015, while mainland visitation is down 4.1%. On the plus side, August’s numbers represented a 14.5% increase from July 2015.