Macau Sees Record Number of Return Visitors

Hillary Turner | 24 January 2019

MacauMacau was incredibly successful with travellers last year, with reports indicating that more than 7 million tourists returned to the locale because they liked it so much the first time!

China and America the Main Hubs

The overall total of holidaymakers for the area was 32.2 million from January through to November 2018, and of these, only 10.2 million felt that they’d seen enough the first time around. The majority of entries were actually repeat-travellers, people who enjoyed themselves so much the first time they went over that they decided to do it again. Of the 7.53 million unique returning sightseers, around 62% visited the city as many as 3 times during the 11-month period.

Leonardo Dioko, Director at the Macau IFT Tourism Research Centre, remarked on the fact that most of these returning visitors were from the United States of America and Mainland China, with the latter in part a result of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge opening in October 2018, providing visitors with access to the longest sea-crossing structure in the world.

The increase of Chinese tourists returning made up for the decline in tourists from other countries, with Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand all seeing a 20-point decline.

Not Just About Gambling

Interestingly, just 9.1% of these returning tourists cited gambling as the reason they came back, with 69.2% saying that the great restaurants and excellent shopping opportunities played an important role. Dicko acknowledged this, saying that land-based operators should work on also focussing their management and marketing around activities other than gaming, like top-of-the-line restaurants and stores stocked with out of the ordinary and/or luxury products for travellers to enjoy.

Holidaymakers can pick and choose from shops stocking the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Louis Vuitton items in Macau, or wander through the flea markets if they’re looking for a budget buy. Restaurant options are wide-ranging and include Portuguese, French, and Chinese fare. And then, of course, there are the casinos, with professional Blackjack croupiers dealing cards as you try to get to 21, the Roulette wheel spinning before the winning bet is revealed, and the flashing lights and cheerful sounds of slots games announcing winners and creating a great atmosphere.

Although analysts have predicted that the gross gaming revenue for Macau will suffer in January, the trend of vacationers returning is a promising one and can be capitalised on, especially if operators set their sights on attracting holidaymakers from the countries that saw declines in 2018.