(Photo by Chong Voon Chung/Xinhua)

Lack of overseas leisure travel options for Chinese travellers to benefit Macau – Brokerage

Since Mainland China residents name Covid-19 risks as one of the main considerations when deciding where to travel and since overseas travel options are scarce at the moment, Macau will benefit more than Hong Kong from Chinese outbound tourists in the near term, Morgan Stanley indicated in a survey report.

Morgan Stanley AlphaWise, a research unit that services hedge funds managers through an online web portal, surveyed 2,667 Chinese residents aged 18-49 from Tier 1-3 cities using online interviews between July 28 and August 4, before the recent announcement that tourist visas will be reinstated.

About 58 per cent of the respondents named catching Covid as its main reason for not taking a leisure holiday, with 46 per cent also indicating fear of getting stuck abroad due to the outbreak.

‘Mainland Chinese tourists are most worried about catching Covid-19, when asked the reason for not traveling overseas. Macau has been registering zero cases for the last four months, which should put it ahead of Hong Kong,’ Morgan Stanley indicated in the.

‘We expect significant increase in visitation/GGR over the next three months as more IVS (Individual Visitor Scheme)visas are issued from Zhuhai (from August 12), Guangdong (August 26) and whole of China (September 23).

More than 82 per cent of the people surveyed have never been to Macau, with 68 per cent having traveled within China for leisure and stayed in a hotel at least for a night in 2019 and 2020.

However, the financial company noted that that the number of respondents choosing Macau as the top destination has dropped from 10 per cent in 2017 to to 6 per cent this year, while about half of respondents indicating that they have no plans to travel to Macau in the next six months.

‘This may change after national IVS is reinstated on September 23, however, as travel restrictions for other destinations remain,’ the company stated.

In term of gaming revenues, Morgan Stanely still expects August and September to remain weak, as IVS will only be partially reinstated, with 80 per cent year-on-year drops in results.