Tourism to Macau is very big business. The Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) announced on Wednesday January 23rd that 35.8 million stopover and day tourists visited Macau in 2018, an increase of 9.8 percent over 2017.
On average, 98,092 visitors arrived in Macau every day last year.
According to official statistics, overnight visitors accounted for 18.5 million visitors (51.6 percent of the total number of visitor arrivals), up 7.2 percent compared with 2017. The number of same-day visitors rose by 12.7 percent.
Visitors’ average length of stay remained unchanged year-on-year at 1.2 days. On average, overnight visitors stayed for 2.2 days.
91% of visitors were from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Mainlanders, Hongkongers and Taiwanese accounted for 70.5 percent, 17.6 percent and 2.9 percent of all visitor arrivals last year, up 13.8 percent, 2.6 percent and 0.1 percent respectively. The three Chinese regions accounted for 91 percent of Macau’s total number of visitor arrivals last year.
South Korea continued to be Macau’s number one source of foreign visitors, rising 7.0% to 812,842 visitors, or 2.3% of all visitor arrivals.
A total of 201,810 US citizens visited Macau last year, up 8.3%. Each of the other foreign visitor segments remained under the 100,000 threshold.
Guangdong residents made up 41.6% of the total number of mainlanders who visited Macau last year.
Following the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Bridge bridge on October 24 last year, 1.05 million visitors entered Macau via the mega-bridge, the point of entry which received the second largest number of visitors during the period.
The Zhuhai-Macau Barrier Gate land-border checkpoint handled 18.2 million visitor arrivals last year, a year-on-year growth of 13.2%. In total, 22.15 million visitors arrived by land.
In the wake of the opening of the delta bridge, the number of visitor arrivals by sea fell 7.8% to 10.3 million last year.
Some 3.29 million visitors arrived by plane or helicopter, up 20.1%.
A total of 3.56 million visitors arrived last month, up 16.9% year-on-year and 9.3% month-to-month, hitting a new monthly record. On average, 115,155 visitors arrived in Macau in December.
A forecast of an increase in visitor arrivals of 5 or 6 percent was announced for 2019, or about 38 million visitors.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.