MGTO: 2016 visitor arrivals to be stable

The number of Macau’s visitor arrivals in 2015 was slightly down 2.6 per cent compared with 2014 for a total of 30,714,628. This number is in line with its forecast of over 30 million by Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) earlier, according to a statement issued last week by the Office following the release of the official data. The Office attributes the slight decrease to ‘a number of external factors’ such as the instability of the international economic environment, stock market plunge, and exchange rate movements, particularly the exchange rate adjustment in neighbouring regions. ‘Macau’s tourism industry had to face greater competition,’ said the Office. Despite a slight decrease in total visitor arrivals in 2015, MGTO said it has actively made flexible adjustments starting from the fourth quarter of last year to co-ordinate related activities for tourism promotion. By unleashing the synergistic effect produced by different types of activities and mega events, MGTO seeks to attract quality tourists from different source markets and further extend visitors’ length of stay. MGTO says the tourism industry achieved better performance in the fourth quarter, with the scale of decrease in tourist arrivals narrowing from 3.6 per cent in the first quarter to 1.7 per cent. In addition, the number of international tourist arrivals in the fourth quarter experienced growth as well, posting a period-on-period increase of 3.9 per cent. The Office stresses the attractiveness of events saying that in December 2015 in particular a combination of multiple mega events including Macau International Marathon, Parade through Macau, Latin City and Macau Light Festival had driven positive growth in a range of tourism figures such as total visitor arrivals and numbers of Greater China and international visitors, all of which registered an increase compared to the corresponding period of 2014. The average length of stay for overnight-stay visitors also increased when compared to the same period in 2014, with the ratio of overnight-stay visitors surpassing that of same-day visitors again since December 2012. ‘It is estimated that the number of visitor arrivals in 2016 will remain at a stable level,’ read MGTO’s statement. ‘Regardless, it depends upon the overall prospects of the global economy.’ MGTO pledges that it will closely monitor the latest economic trends and adjust its products and marketing strategies based on actual demand.