MACAO, January 18, 2018 — Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) held its Annual Press Conference today (17 January), announcing that total visitor arrivals to Macao topped 32.6 million in 2017, up 5.4% from the year before, as preliminary figures revealed. International visitor arrivals grew by 6.2% to reach a new record, accounting for nearly 10% of total visitor arrivals. Overnight-stay visitors also surged year-on-year by almost 10%, accounting for 52.9% of total visitor arrivals and setting a new record in terms of quantity and proportion. Stepping into the year of 2018, MGTO will vigorously implement the strategies and recommendations proposed by the Macao Tourism Industry Development Master Plan, committed to delivering the impact of the tourism industry as a key driver for economic progress and the development of other related industries.
In the press conference, MGTO Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes presented a summary of last year’s tourism performance in Macao and unveiled MGTO’s work plan for 2018. More than 400 participants were present in the conference comprising members of the travel trade and over 60 journalists from Macao, Mainland China, Hong Kong and correspondents based in Macao.
Macao tourism situation in 2017 (preliminary statistics)
Despite uncertain factors looming behind the global political situation, and the devastation brought by Hato – the strongest typhoon in recorded history – to Macao, the local tourism industry saw fair performance overall last year, bolstered by the steady economic recovery and united efforts of different sectors in the tourism industry. The preliminary data revealed that different tourism figures registered year-on-year growth last year, including total and international visitor arrivals, the sum of visitors from the Greater China region as well as that of overnight-stay visitors.
International visitor arrivals hit a new record
Total visitor arrivals grew by 5.4% to exceed 32.6 million in 2017, while over 29.4 million visitors came from the Greater China markets, a rise of 5.3%. International visitor arrivals surged by 6.2% to a new record of more than 3.1 million, accounting for 9.8% of total visitor arrivals.
Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan region stood as Macao’s top three visitor source markets. The city welcomed over 20 million Mainland visitors last year, up by 8.5%, with 41% of the visitors from Guangdong Province. The figure includes over 10 million visitors under the Individual Visit Scheme, which constitute 47.8% of Mainland visitor arrivals. On the other hand, visitor arrivals from Hong Kong and Taiwan region dropped by 4% and 1.3%.
Among international markets, Korea continued to rank first, contributing over 870,000 visitors to Macao with robust growth of 32% in 2017. Japanese visitor arrivals climbed up by 9.4%, whereas the figures of visitors from the Philippines and Indonesia rose by 7% and 8% respectively.
Overnight-stay visitors set a new record on quantity and proportion
The preliminary data show that overnight-stay visitor arrivals exceeded same-day visitor arrivals last year, which had lasted for ten consecutive months since last March. The total of overnight-stay visitors rose by 9.9% to more than 17.2 million, accounting for 52.9% of total visitor arrivals with a year-on-year increase of 2.2 percentage points, breaking the record in terms of both quantity and proportion. The average length of stay stood at 2.1 days for overnight-stay visitors and 1.2 days for all visitors.
The preliminary figures indicate that the total of overnight guests at hotel establishments increased by more than 8% to over 13 million last year. The average occupancy rate of hotel establishments in Macao in 2017 exceeded 88%, a year-on-year increase of more than 5 percentage points. The average room rate of three to five star hotels last year was 160.3 US dollars, down by 0.2%.
Up to the end of 2017, there are 116 hotel establishments in Macao supplying a total of 37,901 rooms, a year-on-year increase of 0.7%. The number includes 49 budget accommodation establishments with a total of 1,736 rooms.
Total visitor expenditure between January and September 2017 amounted to 25.7 billion US dollars, marking period-on-period growth of 16.1%.
MGTO Work Review of 2017
Throughout 2017, MGTO had been pushing various major tasks forward. As highlights of the year’s work, the final version of the Macao Tourism Industry Development Master Plan was released to the public, while unreserved efforts were made to carry out overall coordination for Macao’s application for the designation as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.
Throughout the year, MGTO conducted over 2,100 inspections on business establishments and over 1,600 inspections at ports of entry and tourist attractions, as well as random inspections on 128 tour groups. For measures against the provision of illegal accommodation, the Office carried out 1,386 apartment inspections and sealed 270 apartments, in 490 joint actions of the interdepartmental task force. MGTO also launched the promotional video titled “Enjoy Macao” to advocate rational consumption and advise mainland visitors regarding joining tour groups to Macao.
In parallel with the development of e-government services, MGTO launched the “Online Venue Booking System” and “Price List Submission System for Restaurants, Night Clubs and Bars”. Besides, both the “Macao Tourism News plus” and “Macao Tourism Data plus” — the tourism news database and online statistical data platform – were continuously optimized with new functions introduced to users. In addition, MGTO published a series of guidelines on the administrative procedures of licensing to familiarize related industry operators with the requirements of license applications.
MGTO launched the “Quality Tourism Services Accreditation Scheme” (QTSAS) in 2014 and optimized its assessment and awarding system last year. Up to date, a total of 232 catering businesses and 37 travel agencies have been conferred the Star Merchant Award. On the other hand, over 2,600 participants joined the industry training programs and workshops supported or facilitated by MGTO last year.
MGTO’s Tourist Information counters handled more than 1.17 million visitor inquiries, material requests and suggestions. The Tourist Information counter at the Taipa Ferry Terminal was put into operation as well.
Last August, Macao was devastated by the strongest typhoon in recorded history. MGTO poured efforts to coordinate and handle various tasks to cope with the aftermath, such as grasping the latest situation of the trade and requesting local travel agencies to suspend tour group arrangements to Macao, such that more resources could be allocated for restoration of the city.
Four major work goals of MGTO in 2018
In 2018, MGTO is dedicated to implementing the strategies and recommendations proposed by the Macao Tourism Industry Development Master Plan, striving to promote the role of the tourism industry as a key driver for economic progress and the development of other related industries. The Office will forge ahead with respective tasks according to four major focuses as follows:
1. Actively participate in the “Belt and Road” tourism development
Take new steps to widen the spectrum of collaboration with Mainland China and countries along the “Belt and Road”; strengthen cooperation with other members of the “China Maritime Silk Road Tourism Promotion Alliance”, jointly develop unique international travel itineraries and tourism products and promote multi-destination travel itineraries; capitalize on major travel expos and conferences as a platform to promote the tourism resources of Mainland provinces and cities along the Maritime Silk Road; support Portuguese-speaking countries in tourism personnel training, etc.
2. Radiate the unique advantages of Macao and jointly build the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area into one destination
Expedite tourism integration of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area and join hands with other partner cities to tap into source markets across Mainland China and overseas, promote multi-destination tourism products of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, as well as brand the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area as one travel destination in major source markets to foster the cultural and tourism development of the Pearl River Delta Region; propose joint promotions in overseas markets with other cities of the Bay Area under the Framework Agreement on Cooperation between Guangdong and Macao.
3. Implement the concept of holistic tourism and optimize the tourism environment
Facilitate balanced social and economic development; evaluate the current travel alert system and civil protection mechanism; boost smart tourism development by harnessing innovative technology to enrich the travel experience of visitors, building a large tourism database as well as reinforcing management of tourism carrying capacity; continue to carry out the “Quality Tourism Services Accreditation Scheme” while conducting feasibility study on bringing other sectors into the Scheme; refine tourism-related laws by following up with revisions of the proposed laws on licensing and operation of hotel establishments as well as supporting legislative work of regulations on travel agencies and tour guides; launch online services for license application to enhance licensing efficiency; put stronger efforts in industry management to enhance quality tourism; keep optimizing Macao Tourism News plus, etc.
4. Promote products of culture, sports and gastronomy, and build the brand of maritime tourism
Harness a blend of historic and cultural resources to develop local cultural tourism and community tourism products; following the designation of Macao as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, launch “Macao Year of Gastronomy” and promote Macao’s cultural image under the theme of gastronomy, as well as organize and support international events under the theme of gastronomy, e.g. the International Gastronomy Forum and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018, while enhancing communication with members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network; forge Macao into a City of Events by continuing to organize, co-organize and support a diversity of events and festivals; enhance synergies across the areas of tourism, culture and sports; continue with the remodeling project for the Macao Grand Prix Museum; support industry partners to operate maritime tours around Macao Peninsula, Taipa and Coloane, etc. # # #