Macau was the choice destination for mainland tourists during the first half of this year, according to the “Big Data Report on Outbound Tourism in the First Half of 2023”, recently published by the China Tourism Academy.
According to the CTA – a Beijing-based research institution with a focus on studies in tourism industry – 40.37 million outbound trips by mainland tourists were recorded in the first half of the year, of which almost half had Macau as the trip destination.
Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan were the top destinations for Chinese outbound tourists, comprising 80 percent of the total number of visits they made between January and June.
According to Chinese media outlets, as Chinese tourism industry rises from the shadow of the three-year pandemic, travellers rushing to plan their summer vacation schedules in some countries find themselves unable to even book a time slot or apply for a visa appointment for their desired destinations due to overcrowding.
A report by the Global Times cites information from several travel agencies across the country that show that Schengen and US visa application sites in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai have already been fully booked until the end of this year, and the high likelihood of being rejected is scaring away large numbers of people.
This inability to obtain visas for travel outside of the country is said to explain the higher volume of travel to Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, which require more simplified travel procedures for mainland tourists.
Macau has recorded the arrival of almost 12 million visitors during the first half of this year, or a daily average of over 64,000 visitors, and an amount that accounts for a rebound to 59.6 per cent of 2019 numbers. The majority of these visitors hailed from the mainland.
The number of mainland tourists that visited Macao in the January to June period inclusive represented a 52.70-percent recovery of the number recorded in the same period in 2019, a better performance than for neighbouring regions, Macau authorities indicated.
As part of efforts to diversify the city’s economy and attract a greater number of tourists from overseas, local tourism authorities have advanced with a series of promotional campaigns outside the SAR, including cooperation with airlines, e-commerce platforms, and online travel agencies, in order to issue discounts on air tickets and hotel accommodation, as well as other discounts to tourists during the calendar year.
The city’s first-half total gross gaming revenue amounted to MOP96.8 billion ($12 billion), or 61 per cent of the government’s full-year forecast of MOP130 billion ($16.1 billion), with Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng predicting the year could end with a MOP180 billion ($22.3 billion) total tally.