CASINO

Macau gov’t gears up for tide of Chinese New Year travelers

TAGs: Chinese new year, Macau, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes

The Macau Government Tourism Office (GTO) is expecting a tide of mainland Chinese tourists to visit Asia’s premier gambling hub during the Chinese New Year revelry.

Macau gov’t gears up for tide of Chinese New Year travelersGGRAsia reported that MGTO chief Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes is expecting a 1 to 3 percent growth in the number of tourists visiting Macau during the Chinese New Year compared to the 935,266 visitor arrivals in the same period last year.

The bulk of the tourists will come from mainland China, Hong Kong, and “maybe Taiwan,” according to Fernandes.

Citing a recent survey conducted by international brokerage Deutsche Bank, the Macau Daily Times reported that 14 of 20 Macau hotels are already fully booked for the Chinese holiday that will run from February 15 to February 21.

Of the 20 respondents that participated in the survey, Deutsche Bank said that at least 12 hotels have implemented higher room rates this year.

A Morgan Stanley survey also found that room rates significantly jumped this year, citing Las Vegas Sands’ Four Seasons Hotel as an example. Morgan Stanley said that the Four Seasons Hotel has doubled its room rates to HK$5,228 (US$670) compared to last year.

Analysts are hoping that the numbers reflected in the survey will translate into better holiday results compared to last October’s Golden Week holiday, when the former Portuguese enclave posted disappointing visitor numbers and weaker-than-expected gaming revenue.

There’s no direct correlation between the number of visitors in Macau and the gaming spend in casinos and tourism figures are mere snapshots of what might transpire over the rest of the year.

Last year, the results of the Chinese New Year festivities fell short of the analysts’ expectations. They blamed the placement of the Chinese New Year, which fell on the last week of January and first week of February, which left January feeling the full negative impact of the traditional pre-Chinese New Year seasonal slowdown.

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