If Macau officials had expected Golden Week to end on a high note, they were disappointed. The festivities saw a couple of days that were able to report increases in tourism traffic compared to last year, but the final day wasn’t one of these. By the time the final numbers were tallied, the traffic on the seventh and last day reflected a 3.1% drop compared to the last day of the holiday period in 2018.
Less than 79,000 tourists took to the streets of Macau on the last day, according to data from the city’s Public Security Police and the Macao Government Tourism Office. Of this amount, in keeping with virtually all tourism statistics, Chinese from the mainland made up the bulk of the traffic, accounting for 53,800 of all visitors. However, this was a 6% year-on-year decline, which doesn’t speak well for the sentiment in China.
To be fair, the drop on the last day can’t be completely attributed to the protests in Hong Kong or the trade war between the U.S. and China or even a change in how gambling is viewed around the world. Put simply, the fact that the seventh day fell on a Monday, not a Sunday as it did last year, probably had a lot to do with it.
Overall, visitation was up 11.5% during the week, reaching 985,000. 798,000 of that total, or 81.1%, came from mainland China, an increase of 9.4% over last year. Except for the first and the last two days, Golden Week in Macau proved to be better than last year, with year-on-year increases reported on each of the other days.
Just as had been predicted, an overzealous approach to attracting guests may have done more harm than good to Macau’s gambling scene during Golden Week. Gaming analysts have started to weigh in on the performance of the city’s casinos during the period and the numbers don’t look good. A great number of hotel rooms had been discounted or comped in an effort to bring in more people, but this ended up being counterproductive to the casinos’ performance.
According to JP Morgan analysts DS Kim, Jeremy An and Derek Choi, “According to our checks, the seven-day Golden Week generated average daily revenue (ADR) of about MOP1.15 billion [$142.3 million] per day (October 1-7), implying a 12 percent decline from last year’s approximately MOP1.3 billion [$160.58 million] per day.”
Nomura analysts covered the subject, as well, indicating that daily mass revenue grew by around 8-10%. However, this was immediately countered by VIP volume growth that was “approximately 22 percent to 24 percent lower than the same period last year.”
Perhaps casinos and hotels will be less enthusiastic about giving away the goods next year.