Macau is looking to a new future of non-gaming amenities to revitalise the city, following two consecutive years of slumping revenue. This commence to be reflected on numbers from the tourism sector, which are on the rise and according to government officials representing China’s special gaming zone, this trend will continue throughout the year.
Macao Government Tourist Office Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said that the city is bracing for a 5pc tourism increase in 2017. Having indicated that arrivals were up 5pc through the first quarter of 2017, the office expects that rate to hold steady for the rest of the year.
This increment is due mainly to the government’s initiative to diversify Macau offering with more mixed entertainment resorts outside of gaming. New properties opening on the Cotai Strip, including The Parisian Macao or Wynn Palace, are offering different options that appeal to a wider demographic. This has positively impacted on the gaming sector, whose revenues have risen for the past nine consecutive months.
As Macau looks to a new future beyond gaming, experts speaking at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia conference that took place this week in Macau, support this transition.
Francis Lui, vice chairman of Macau’s Galaxy Entertainment Group also spoke at G2E’s “Asian Markets Forum”, saying that overnight tourism numbers are bound for an increase. In 2016, the number of overnight trippers surpassed the number of day trippers for the first time,” he said. According to Lui, it is crucial to continue the trend, as guests who stay the night spend roughly three times more money than day trippers.
Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association also spoke at the conference, highlighting the importance that US-based casino operators have had in this revitalisation process Macau is undergoing.
“When you look at the immense contributions that MGM, Sands China, and Wynn have made to this destination, they have raised the bar in a variety of ways,” Freeman said. “The type of investments in this market, the number of jobs that these companies are providing, the high regulatory standards that they are meeting, I think that by all accounts they have been tremendous partners in this market.”