New HKZM bridge drives up visits to Macau

New HKZM bridge drives up visits to Macau

The first full month of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau (HKZM) bridge being opened saw a 15.3% year-on-year increase in visitor arrivals to Macau.

New HKZM bridge drives up visits to MacauThe Macau Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) reported November visits reaching 3.27 million, a 3.6% increase from the previous month. Of the 2.31 million who traveled by land to visit the Special Administrative Region, about 437,000 passed through the HKZM bridge, which opened to the public last October 24.

The census agency also reported same-day visitors increasing 26.9% from the same period last year, to 1.68 million. Overnight visitors rose 5.1% year on year to 1.59 million. The average length of stay of visitors remained the same, at 1.2 days, but overnight visitors increased their length of stay by 0.1 day, to 2.2 days.

About 70% of the visitors, or 2.28 million, were from Mainland China. Of these, 1.06 million traveled through the Individual Visit Scheme, 19.1% more than in November 2017.

Hong Kong visitors increased 25.6% year on year, to about 592,000. The number of Korean and Taiwanese visitors fell 6.6% and 2.4% respectively, year on year.

While travel by land and air increased 47.9% and 11.3% respectively, visits by sea plummeted 33.7%.

As of end-November, total visits for 2018 were up 9.1% year on year, to 32.23 million. 70.8% of these visitors, or 22.81 million, were from Mainland China, a 13.3% increase. Hong Kong visitors increased by just 1%, to 5.6 million.

Just last month, Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) head Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes forecast a 7.4% increase of visits from 2017. The tourism agency has been campaigning to induce tourists to take advantage of the HKZM bridge as a means of travel.

An increase in visitors is not seen to be the main factor in boosting Macau’s gross gaming revenue (GGR), which has been more closely linked to activity of the relatively few in the VIP market. Even so, GGR for 2018 up to end-November has risen 13.7% year on year, to MOP276.38 billion ($34.25 billion).