Macau Golden Week growth a pale shadow of previous years

macau-golden-weekMacau casinos enjoyed a boost during the Golden Week holiday period but the numbers were a far cry from the bonanza of previous years.

According to figures released on Thursday by the Teledifusao de Macau (TDM) TV channel, average daily gaming revenue over the first seven days of October came to MOP 914.3m (US $114.5m). Total gaming revenue for the week hit MOP 6.4b ($801.7m). The figures are about on par with the 2013 Golden Week numbers, but about 10% less than the 2014 stats.

Daiwa Securities took a glass-half-full approach to the numbers, saying that posting any kind of bump was “an incremental positive for the sector, while a failure to hold up would indicate a lack of fundamental improvement.”

The Government Tourist Office says total Golden Week visitation to Macau came to 1.07m, up 2.7% from last year. Mainland Chinese visitors accounted for 85% (907k) of total visitation, up 7.1% year-on-year, although this pales to the 17% growth in mainland visitation reported last year.

This year’s figures would likely have been higher were it not for Typhoon Mujigae, which slammed into China’s southern coast last weekend. Considered the worst storm to hit the mainland since 1949, it seriously disrupted travel channels, leaving many gamblers with no ability to reach Macau.

Credit Suisse reported that Macau and Hong Kong have lost some of their allure for mainland Chinese residents. The two cities were the top destinations for Golden Week travelers last year, but Japan and South Korea claimed the top spots during the first four days of Golden Week.

Macau’s retail businesses also reported a slack Golden Week. One casino mall retailer, who wished to remain anonymous, told Macau Business Daily that the mall was “very calm” even before Mujigae rolled into town and that sales over the first six days “plunged by at least 20% on average from our expectation.”