Macau is setting itself up for the Chinese New Year rush, expected to peak on November 24th, the third day of the annual holiday, with some 47,000 average daily tourists expected to enter the SAR.

Authorities in the SAR say that they are prepared to handle the influx, after dropping their entry requirements, facilitating testing-free travel from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan on January 8th and eliminating quarantine requirements for foreign arrivals.

The SAR has already registered daily visitor volumes topping 55,000, a strong indication of the possible tourist numbers during the holiday period.

Despite the positive number of arrivals, some industry professionals have warned that hospitality companies may not be able to achieve full capacity during the holiday, due to a lack of manpower, as they rush to ramp up following a near three-year downturn.

Police authorities are now working to ensure a stable flow at entry points, while also setting up crowd control measures for the city’s main tourism sites.

They have also indicated that they are carrying out a series of crime-prevention preparations – as the period has historically been prime for illegal money exchange, usury and even kidnapping activities due to the surge in betting that occurs during the holiday.

Authorities assure that they will also be heavily monitoring hotels and restaurants for any possible price inflation, as bookings have already surged ahead of the holidays and are expected to reach up to 90 percent occupancy.

Gaming operators have also been pushed to increase the frequency and routes of their shuttle buses to respond to the tourist influx at borders.

The operators of Macau’s bridge and maritime links to Hong Kong have also been contacted by authorities, to increase the frequency of their trips, with Macau expected to return to near-full travel capacity during the holiday.

Analysts are predicting that the CNY period will set the tone for the city’s gross gaming revenue figures of not only the first quarter but also the rest of the year.

Macau’s Chief Executive has already predicted that $16.17 billion is expected in GGR in 2023, with monthly revenues needing to reach $1.24 billion to follow-through on the goal.

While over 50,000 daily visitors have already been predicted by officials, the figure falls far short of the 170,000 tourists seen daily during the holiday period prior to the pandemic.

MACAU-VISITOR-ARRIVALS-

Speaking of the downturn, the official noted that “we will not be able, from one day to the next, to return to the same number of arrivals”.

Despite predicting Macau can’t yet return to its heyday, flights to the SAR’s international airport have gradually ramped up, in particular to destinations in mainland China, and Hong Kong’s opening up to China has also allowed another indirect avenue into the city.

Up to 10,000 daily visitors via the airport are now expected, with visitation from Hong Kong hoped to reach similar figures during the holiday.

Macau’s tourism office has also been ramping up activities to commemorate CNY, as well as launching discount and travel packages focused largely on mainland China and Hong Kong, its two primary markets.

China is already expecting up to 600,000 daily entries and exits from its borders (including to Macau) during the seven-day holiday, doubling those seen in 2022.

Kelsey-Wilhelm
Kelsey Wilhelm is a broadcast, print journalist and editor based in Asia for over 15 years. Focused on content creation, management, cross-cultural exchange and interviews for multi-lingual productions. Writing focus on gaming, business, politics, culture and heritage, events and celebrities, subcultures, music, film, art and fashion. Some of Kelsey's specialties are: editing, writing, copy creation, multi-lingual content production, cross-cultural exchange, content creation and management for Asian markets.