Macau expects 33 million visitors in 2024, 84% of 2019 levels

Macau expects 33 million visitors in 2024, 84% of 2019 levels

The dazzling Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Macau, renowned for its thriving casino industry, seems to have left the shadows of the pandemic behind as the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) has predicted a remarkable rebound in tourism for the current year. Despite the devastating challenges faced during the global health crisis, the MGTO envisions approximately 33 million visitors gracing the Chinese SAR in 2024, signifying an impressive 84 per cent recovery from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

At present, the daily average of visitors is in the range of 70,000 to 80,000 individuals. It soars to more than 100,000 on weekends, which has laid the groundwork for the officials’ optimistic projection. With a stable baseline throughout the month, the officials believe that it can achieve the target of 33 million visitors by the end of current year. This surge in tourism would build upon the momentum generated in the past few months, with the casino hub welcoming 28.2 million visitors in the preceding year, marking a substantial leap from the subdued figures recorded in 2022.

Once hailed as the wealthiest casino market of the entire world, Macau faced unparalleled challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic. The flow of capital from mainland China to Macau raised national security concerns in Beijing. Making all that even worse, President Xi Jinping's directives led to the prosecution of several key industry figures, including Alvin Chau of Suncity, which resulted in a severe shift in the VIP junket industry.

With the withdrawal of junkets, Macau's casinos embraced diversification strategies to align with the government's vision. The six operators received extension of 10-year licenses in exchange for substantial commitments to non-gaming projects marked a pivotal moment.

While traffic from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan has shown noteworthy recovery, while the international segment remains comparatively bottled-up. To address this, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director of MGTO, emphasized focus on overseas markets.

Speaking on the topic, Senna Fernandes explained, “This year, the MGTO will focus on overseas markets, and in the first half of the year will organize roadshows in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Malaysia. We also plan to participate in travel shows in Europe.”

The ongoing increase in Macau's tourism aligns with the strong performance of its casinos, which recorded a staggering $22.7 billion in winnings during the recently-concluded year of 2023, marking a remarkable 334 per cent year-over-year surge.

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