Visitors to Macau on the rise in welcome boost to casino sector

by William Brown Last Updated
Visitors to Macau on the rise in welcome boost to casino sector

Visitors to Macau have increased more than 20 per cent compared to last year, as the region experiences slow but steady recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inside Asian Gaming reports that the 20.2 per cent year-on-year increase in visitor arrivals in the first half of 2021 to 3,927,829 includes a 33.2 per cent increase in overnight visitors and 8.5 per cent improvement in same-day visitors, pushing the average length of stay up from 1.4 days to 1.6 days.

It could have been better, if not for a slowdown in June as a result of border restrictions with Guangdong Province being temporarily tightened due to an outbreak of the virus in Guangzhou and Foshan.

The number of visitors to Macau in June fell 39 per cent to 528,519, considerably higher than the 22,556 arrivals at the height of the pandemic in June 2020 but below the 866,063 in May 2021.

The total number of visitors to Macau was well below the 3.1 million arrivals in June 2019.

Same-day visitors in June 2021 fell 20.1 per cent compared with May to 313,441 and overnight visitors by 54.6 per cent to 215,078, pushing the average length of stay down from 1.4 days to 1.2 days.

As always, mainland China comprised the vast majority of arrivals with 471,935, of which 120,604 arrived via the Individual Visit Scheme.

There were 52,296 visitors from Hong Kong and 4,213 from Taiwan.

By mode of arrival, 449,776 entered by land including 395,028 via the Border Gate. Visitor arrivals by air and by sea totalled 69,390 and 9,353 respectively.

Macau continues to show signs of life

In May, Macau casinos posted their best revenue growth figures of the year, with gross gaming revenue up 24.3 per cent.

 that year-on-year, the gross gaming figure was up a whopping 492.2 per cent, due to the closure of casinos last April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Aggregate casino gross gaming revenue figures in the five months to May 31 showed a 28.7 per cent increase on the first five months of 2020.

In the first quarter of 2020, the city’s casino sector had a strong performance in January, before the onset of the pandemic.

Macau’s casino gross gaming revenue for May 2021 was the highest monthly figure since the start of the pandemic.

The result coincided with a five-day holiday period in mainland China, linked to Labour Day on May 1.

Analysts predict Macau GGR to rise steadily in 2021

JP Morgan Securities Asia Pacific described Macau’s May gross gaming revenue as a “respectable print…modestly above consensus”.

Analysts DS Kim, Derek Choi and Livy Lyu stated: “The daily run-rate has risen sequentially for six consecutive months to the highest post-pandemic print in the first quarter 2021.”

The analysts added the May result implied “mass GGR has recovered to more than 50 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels, nearly a 10 per cent jump from recent months.”

The official figures for market split between mass and VIP play will only be detailed by the regulator on a quarterly basis, once the June figures are published.

The Morgan Stanley banking group recently cut by 19 per cent its estimate for Macau’s market casino GGR this year.

The institution said its downward revision was due to “continued delay” in easing of travel rules relating to movement between Hong Kong and Macau and between mainland China and those places.

The banking group now thinks Macau’s 2021 GGR will be up 115.4 per cent year-on-year compared to 2020.

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