Tourism tax would have minimal impact on city’s gaming revenues – Brokerage

Analysts from Sanford C. Bernstein stated in a note that a tourism tax if implemented in Macau could impact low-end tourism such as day-trippers, but would have a minimal impact on the city’s gaming revenues.

A recent study conducted by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) showed that while the overwhelming majority of residents are in favor of introducing a tourist tax in Macau the majority of tourism operators are against it.

The study proposed a tourism tax between MOP100 (US$12.4) and MOP200.

More than 2.9 million visitors came to Macau between January and November of this year, of which 1.5 million were day-trippers, with the overall number of visitors has increased 12.7 per cent year-on-year while the number of same-day visitors went up 23 per cent.

Meanwhile accumulated gross gaming revenue in all of 2019 has totalled MOP292.45 billion (US$36.5 billion), a 3.4 per cent drop when compared to the same period last year.

Bernstein estimates the first month of this year could decrease 1 per cent year-on-year or increase up to 2 per cent, with the Chinese New Year this year starting on January 25, while it started on February 5 last year.

‘One key driver of the January result will be how the visa constraints that were in place in November and December are being loosened. If we see continued tight visa controls in place, the GGR impact will be more negative than we currently forecast,’ the brokerage noted.