Friday, April 19, 2024
HomeNewsMacauVisitor mix for mainland Chinese increased for first time since 2019: UBS

Visitor mix for mainland Chinese increased for first time since 2019: UBS


Although Macau’s visitor arrivals in January have yet to return to 2019 levels, the visitor mix for mainland Chinese was high at 49 percent in January for the first time, six percentage points higher than the 43 percent recorded in January 2019, according to UBS.

Macau’s visitor arrivals soared by 104.7 percent year-on-year to 2.86 million last month, recovering to 83.5 percent of the level in the same month of 2019.

In the latest investment memo from UBS, analysts indicate that encouraging mainland Chinese visitors was associated with the fact that Macau is currently developing a new customer base through its events.

Assuming an 80-85 percent mass gross gaming revenue (GGR) mix in total GGR, UBS estimates that the mass GGR per visitor was stable on a month-on-month basis, at MOP5,400 ($670) to MOP5,700 ($707) per visitor, or 115 to 125 percent of the 2019 level.

According to the data released by the official statistics service, Macau’s January daily visitation is down 3 percent month-over-month, averaging 92,000 per day. ‘The month-over-month dip could be attributed to seasonal effects, with Chinese New Year (CNY) being in February.’

UBS also notes that visitor traffic from Hong Kong in January is down about 20 percent from December due to fewer public holidays. Nonetheless, the decrease was partly offset by the increase in mainland Chinese visitors, which are at 82 percent of the January 2019 level on a high base.

The research team also indicates that non-Guangdong visitation was up 10 percent from December, thanks to the continued decline in airfare ticket prices, down 10 percent from the previous month. ‘This compares to a flattish trend month-over-month for Guangdong visitors.’

Macau achieves best-ever performance in premium mass during CNY: Citigroup

Visa scheme expansion to lure half million more visitors 

The mainland Chinese government announced last Friday that the Individual Visitor Scheme (IVS) will be expanded to include Qingdao and Xi’an. The policy will take effect from March 6th.

This is the first expansion of IVS cities since 2006, increasing the total number of IVS cities from 49 to 51.

According to Citigroup’s estimates, the two new cities could add an additional two percent to the Macau government’s 2024 visitation target of 17 percent.

‘Given the high flight frequency from Qingdao and Xi’an to Guangzhou and the rail connectivity between Baiyun Airport and Macau, we anticipate these two new IVS cities to have a pretty immediate positive impact on Macau’s visitation.’

In 2023, there were a total of 10.6 million Mainland Chinese visitors who entered Macau on IVS visas, equivalent to 2.42 percent of the total population of the 49 IVS cities.

Assuming the same percentage of the population of Qingdao and Xi’an will visit Macau because of the new IVS arrangement, Citigroup estimates that the two new cities will add an incremental 565,000 visitors to Macau on an annualized basis.

Macau Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong
Lei Wai Nong, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance

Macau GDP to reach 90 percent of 2019 levels 

In addition, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance expects that Macau’s economy could return to 90 percent of pre-COVID levels this year.

During a seminar at The Macao Chamber of Commerce, Lei Wai Nong projected that the trajectory of local economic recovery in 2024 remains positive, forecasting that the GDP could increase by 10.3 percent compared to 2023.

Macau’s GDP in 2023 increased sharply by 80 percent from 2022, recovering to about 80 percent of 2019 levels.

Macau has set a goal to welcome 33 million visitors in 2024. If realized, this would represent a nearly 17 percent increase from 2023, as Macau received over 28 million visitors last year.

Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan is an editor, interpreter, and journalist. With over a decade of experience, she writes in English, Chinese, and Portuguese. Viviana started her career in Macau-based newspapers, where she became passionate about the region's social, financial, and cultural development. Her writing focuses on the economy, emerging industries, gaming development, political affairs, and cross cultural-exchange in the business and cultural domains. She is avid for news and eager to discover and cover stories that generate public relevance.