Visitor arrivals to Macau rose 30.7 percent in 2021 from the prior year, however the numbers were still down 80 percent from their pre-pandemic levels, according to figures from the Statistics and Census Service.
For December alone, visitors were up 24.5 percent from the same month a year earlier and also showed a slight rise from November, gaining 2.4 percent.
Total visitors for the year were 7,705,943 and unsurprisingly the vast majority, or 7,045,058 came from Mainland China. Quarantine free travel with China was allowed from the Autumn of 2020, while borders with much of the rest of the world effectively closed due to stringent quarantine regulations.
The number of Mainland visitors were up 48.2 percent year-on-year.
In terms of length of stay there was an improvement with a gain of 0.2 day to 1.6 days with overnight visitors increased by 0.4 day to 3.2 days. Same day visitors saw a slight decline.
Same-day visitors made up 52 percent of the total, while overnight visitors, which are more lucrative to the local economy, were 48 percent.
The figures showed that visitors coming in on the individual visit scheme visas rose by 31.3 percent despite the fact that China has not yet resumed issuance of the visas by electronic means.
Visitors from the nine cities in the Pearl River Delta were up 59.9 percent, while visitors from Hong Kong and Taiwan, were down 30.1 percent and 31.9 percent respectively.
Macau’s tourism numbers are heavily influenced by the authorities’ zero-Covid policies. While visitors rose over the Christmas period, they have since tapered, in part because it’s a traditionally quieter period, but also because of more stringent testing requirements.
Visitors from Zhuhai need to have a negative test within 24 hours of arrival due to local Covid clusters.
Bernstein research has noted that gross gambling revenue in its weekly channel checks is softening as visitation declines alongside the more restrictive travel measures.