Macau casinos expect boost from surge of visitors during Chinese New Year

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Macau is expecting an upsurge in the number of visitors during the Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays, which is believed to be a good sign for the casino operators. Currently, the Special Administrative Region (SAR) is averaging over 40,000 visitors daily.

Due to the spread of Covid-19 and the resultant lockdowns since 2020, the casinos have been facing huge losses as the government came up with zero-covid policy that discouraged people from visiting Macau. However, the recent removal of entry restrictions for visitors from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong have proved to be very helpful in increasing the visitor count. The quarantine requirements for visitors from non-Chinese nations has also been also lifted.

The head of the tourism bureau said that they are expecting an average of 47,000 visitors daily in the next few days with a peak of 55,000 visitors on some days, as per a report by Asia Gaming Brief.

The tour groups have not received permits yet despite the lifting of a number of restrictions and implementation of approval of e-visas for Chinese visitors last year. According to the officials, they are slated to start as soon as Covid-19 subsides in the mainland.

Ever since the lifting of restrictions, about 1 million mainland China citizens are said to have filed for admission permits to Macau and Hong Kong. Additionally, enhanced transit between the two specially administered zones and mainland China is expected to significantly boost the number of visitors.

Casinos saw a rise in stock prices after the restrictions were removed. The domestic travel market is predicted to recover to over 70% of its pre-pandemic levels, according to China’s official tourism ministry.

While a complete recovery for Macau casinos to the pre-pandemic levels is expected to take time, experts believe that at the current pace, the market might recover by mid 2024. Macau saw a steep decline of 51.4 percent year-on-year Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) in 2022.