Macau (MNA) – The Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said on Thursday that 2018 will finish with a record number of about 35 million people having visited Macau.
According to Ms. Fernandes preliminary results show that about 32.2 million people visited Macau between January and November of this year, more nine per cent than the same period of last year and almost reaching the 32.6 million registered for the whole 2017.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 19th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Macau SAR ceremony held today, the MGTO head said that strong December results will bring the final year total to 35 million visitors, with an yearly increase between 8 to 9 per cent.
“Our initial predictions for the year ended up being conservative, we had predicted a 3 to 5 per cent yearly increase but it seems it reached an 8 per cent increase and now with the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge it could reach 9 per cent,” Ms. Fernandes said.
The large number of events and the Christmas holidays in December were said to be the reasons for the expected strong December visitation results.
“Only in the first nine days of the Macau Light Festival we had more than 700,000 social media interactions, I think it is working and yesterday we decided to extend the festival for 20 days until January for the first time,” she added.
The MGTO head also considered that the HZMB opening would be one of the main factors contributing to the record number in visitations in 2018, having led specifically to an increase in one-day visits.
“There was a great increase in people who don’t stay overnight. Until October we had about 52 per cent of tourists staying overnight, but in November we can see the percentage completely reverted,” she added.
However she admitted that with several people crossing the bridge to Macau and “then “coming back” only to experience the infrastructure for the first time, actual visitation numbers could be inflated and revealed that a joint study Hong Kong Tourism Board on the real HZMB impact on visitation could be initiated early next year.
“People come to see the bridge without really experiencing Macau. Sometimes they arrive to Macau and Hong Kong and go directly to Zhuhai or Shenzhen […] Their circuit does not reach our touristic product unfortunately. It’s because of the bridge novelty factor, we have to see if this changes with time,” she stated.