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Macau Casinos Enjoy Strong Chinese New Year Visitation

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The Macau Government Tourism Office released a report last week covering the city's Chinese New Year (CNY) tourism data for this month. While the final data is still being calculated, initial figures indicate that the average daily volume of international visitors to Macau was approximately 6,600 during the holiday period. This marks a significant jump of 78.5% compared to the 2019 level.

Macau Visitation Booms

Macau experienced a surge in visitation this month, with 1.52 million visitors. In total, there were over 5.8 million border crossings recorded at all checkpoints.

During the CNY holiday period, which ran February 10-17, Macau's visitation reached 1,357,803; the daily average was 169,725. According to Citigroup, this indicates that Macau's visitor numbers have almost fully recovered to 2019 levels, with the visitor tally only 1% below the 2019 figure.

Daily average visitation saw a 163% increase compared to CNY Golden Week 2023. Citigroup also pointed out that the daily average visitation exceeded the 120,000 daily average that the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) had anticipated by 41%.

Daily average mainland China visitors increased by 242% in comparison to CNY 2023, or 1% better than CNY 2019. Visitors from Mainland China accounted for around 76% of the total, better than the 74% from CNY 2019. Hong Kong visitors represented 19%.

The highest daily visitor tally in Macau's history was recorded on February 7, 2019. 226,326 visitors descended on the city during that CNY holiday.

Helena de Senna Fernandes, the head of the MGTO, informed local media that the visitor volume during the current CNY Golden Week improved over last October's Golden Week. She expressed optimism that the tourist tally will break the one-million mark.

Additionally, Macau hotels reported positive results, with the overall hotel occupancy rate reaching 97% on February 12 and 13. The average hotel occupancy was 95.2%, and the highest, 97.9%, was reached on Day 4 of the holiday period. The average room rate was up by 23.4% year-on-year to MOP1,922 ($239).

GGR Outperforms Expectations

In a memo following visits to Macau's casinos, Jeffrey Kiang and Leo Pan, analysts with Asian brokerage and investment group CLSA, reported increased traffic at the four casinos and border crossings they visited. This lowers the upside risk to February's gross gaming revenue (GGR) and could lead to results that are better than the 2% improvement from January's previously expected.

Macau's GGR last October was MOP19.5 billion (US$2.4 billion), but the month has 31 days. In addition, monthly visitations this month reached 86% of October 2019.

The analysts observed that the minimum bet for baccarat tables was commonly MOP1,000 ($124). Higher minimum-bet tables were the busiest on Monday afternoon.

In addition to baccarat, they noted that Sic Bo was popular with gamblers at the four venues. Slots and live multi-game terminals also received a lot of action.

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