Visitor arrivals to Macao declined by 85.0 percent in full-year 2020, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released by the Macao SAR Government Statistics and Census Service (DSEC). Last year, there were almost 5.90 million tourist arrivals, compared to a record 39.41 million in 2019.
There were slightly more same-day visitors to Macao last year, 3.07 million arrivals (52.1 percent of the total), compared to overnight visitors, 2.82 million – representing decreases of 85.2 percent and 84.9 percent year-on-year.
The average length of stay for all visitors went up by 0.2 day in year-on-year terms, to 1.4 days. The time overnight visitors spent in Macao grew by 0.6 day to 2.8 days, while the time same-day visitors spent in Macao was unchanged at 0.2 day.
Visitors from Mainland China decreased by 83.0 percent year-on-year to 4.75 million in 2020. Among those visitors, Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) visitors declined by 85.7 percent to 1.87 million. Arrivals from the nine Pearl River Delta cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area totalled 2.58 million, a 77.4 percent year-on-year decline.
In 2020, visitors from Hong Kong (843,165) and the Taiwan region (104,124) fell by 88.5 percent and 90.2 percent year-on-year.
Classified by their point of entry, there were 5.03 million arrivals by land in 2020, and 3.85 million arrived through the Border Gate. There were more than 430,000 visitor arrivals by air and more than 420,000 arrivals by sea last year.
Tourist Price Index and hotel occupancy rates
For full-2020, the average Tourist Price Index fell to 122.88 points, an 8.20-percent decline compared to 2019’s figure. The decrease was mainly attributable to a year-on-year drop in hotel room rates amid the COVID-19 pandemic, lower charges for restaurant services, and a decline in prices for clothing and traditional local food products. Higher prices for jewellery and rising airfares partially offset the decrease.
The index tracks price changes in the goods and services purchased by visitors. The categories used are based on the typical consumption patterns of tourists and include food, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, clothing and footwear, accommodation, restaurant meals, transport and communications, health-related products and personal goods, and entertainment and cultural activities.
By the end of December 2020, there were 120 hotels and guesthouses open for accommodation, a decrease of three units compared to the same stage in 2019, and the number of available rooms had fallen by 8.2 percent to about 35,000 rooms. The average length of stay of guests for full-2020 increased by 0.2 night year-on-year to 1.7 nights.
In 2020, the average room occupancy rate – excluding rooms use for COVID-19-related medical observation – decreased by 62.2 percentage points to 28.6 percent. The total number of guests was around 3.87 million, down by 72.5 percent in year-on-year terms.
The average room rate in Macao hotels in full-2020 was MOP920.40, or 32.4 percent less than a year earlier, according to data from the Macau Hotel Association.
|Christmas, New Year’s Eve help upturn in tourism|
Notwithstanding the year-on-year decline in visitor arrivals to Macao in full-2020, visitor volumes have gradually risen sequentially, driven by arrivals from Mainland China, helped by a stable public health situation in both places. Visitor arrivals to Macao since the advent of COVID-19 peaked during the race practice day of the Macau Grand Prix meeting, at Christmas, and on New Year’s Eve.
The Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) has been actively promoting Macao as a safe and quality tourism destination, following the reinstatement of travel permit issuance for Mainland residents to come to Macao. The city’s appeal has been boosted further by the charm of Macao’s festive holidays and events. On New Year’s Eve (31 December) visitor arrivals hit 30,747, the highest daily figure in 11 months, according to provisional data from the Public Security Police Force. The second-highest daily figure for the past 11 months, at 28,247 visitor arrivals, was registered on 20 November, the race practice day of the Macau Grand Prix meeting. The third-highest figure, at 27,755 visitor arrivals, was logged on Christmas Day (25 December).
During the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holiday periods, the average occupancy rate of hotels also increased sequentially. During the Christmas period, between 23 and 27 December, the hotel average occupancy rate hit nearly 70 percent, 22.5 percentage points up compared to the average recorded in the first 22 days of December, according to data from industry operators, compiled by MGTO. During the New Year’s Eve period (31 December to 3 January), the hotel average occupancy rate stood at 67.2 percent, 15.1 percentage points more than the average for full-December.