Macau, China, 24 Jun – The number of visitors that travelled to Macau in the first five months of the year fell 10 percent when compared to the same period in 2008, the director of the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) said on Tuesday.
Tourism director Jose Manuel Costa Antunes, who spoke at the MGTO Annual Marketing Meeting, said that between January and May Macau received 8.9 million visitors, 1.9 million of which came from outside of China.
The person responsible for Macau’s tourism spoke to the press and said that he expects Macau to register 20 million visitors this year, a drop of around 10 percent, when compared to 22.9 million visitors in 2008.
"The worldwide tourism industry faces the challenges of the global economic crisis and of the outbreak of A H1N1, which the Macau tourism industry cannot avoid," he said.
During the meeting, where tourism operators and people from the MGTO in 17 countries and territories were present, Costa Antunes gave a presentation about the current situation of the industry and announced strategies to promote Macau.
Costa Antunes said that the main tourist markets for Macau were mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and the United States. He revealed that Macau registered an increase in visitor numbers from the following regions: Hong Kong (0.3 percent), Japan (8.7 percent) and Thailand (14.9 percent), in the first five months of the year.
Between January and April, Macau’s hotels and similar establishments received 2.1 million guests, representing a rise of 2.8 percent and 64.9 of the total number of visitors that stayed overnight in Macau. The average period a visitor stayed in Macau was 1.39 nights.
In the first four months of the year, hotels that have between three and five stars registered an occupancy rate of 75 percent and an average cost per room of 982.8 patacas.
Macau currently has 90 hotels and similar establishments, with a total of 19,266 rooms.
Costa Antunes said "to avoid the transformation of the challenges of the tourist industry into a crisis, the MGTO is working closely with tourist operators and MGTO representatives abroad to attract more opportunities, such as the recently launched "Plan to Support the Tourism Industry", where the Government of Macau aids travel agencies to promote excursions to Macau.
The "Stimulus Plan for Business Tourism", which is part of the previously mentioned plan and was launched by the MGTO’s Macau Business Tourism Centre, is providing support in three areas: Meetings, Conventions, Expositions and Incentives.
Under the same plan, the MGTO is offering "Support to the Aviation Industry", by providing assistance with opening of new routes to Macau and with promotion at the target destinations of the airlines that fly to Macau.
Macau’s tourism director also said with the signing of the VI Supplement of the CEPA (Closer Economic and Commercial Partnership Agreement between the Chinese Mainland and Macau), visitors from mainland China travelling to Taiwan can stay in Macau.