Not too long ago, investors were headed for a near-panic state of mind over concerns relating to a downward spiral in the number of VIP players choosing Macau as their entertainment capital of choice. Unfortunately, their fears were not completely unfounded or paranoid, as in 2011 the city experienced a near-recession and the impact on the local gambling industry was extreme, to say the least.
It’s no wonder then that when a similar situation seemed to unfold a couple of months ago, there seemed to prevail a kind of déjà vu about hard times and the possibility of those hard times rolling around again.
But, thankfully, it seems to not be the case this time round. VIP visits may be down, but the overall number of visitors is on the increase, with the month of August being one of the best performing periods in a very long time.
More than 34 million people entered Macau during the month of August alone. What this translates to, according to a census performed by the Statistics and Census Service (DSCS), is that the region has experienced a 12.2% year on year increase in terms of visitor numbers. The numbers were fuelled by an influx of tourists from the Chinese Mainland.
But that’s not all. The month-to-month statistics may be impressive, but the 18.7% year on year growth is nothing short of astounding. It would seem, after all, that the widespread concerns about Macau’s ability to carry itself sustainably, financially, were indeed quite unfounded.
The percentage of same-day visitors increased by an impressive 21.6%, and those who opted for a longer sleepover kind of stay, made for an overall increase of 16.3%. The overall length of stay did decline ever so slightly, but a mere marginal 0.1 day when calculated on a year on year basis.
Notable too is the fact that more than 2.5 million visitors originated from Mainland China, and with the Individual Visit Scheme responsible for 1.3 million visitors. What it all comes down to, is that during the month of August alone, 23 million people made their way to Macau, which represents a 8.9% year on year growth rate.