Macau had a tourism carrying capacity ranging from 89,374 to 92,325 visitors per day last year, while the annual carrying capacity range was between 32.62 million and 33.7 million, according to a study conducted by the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) that was released on Thursday at its Mong Ha campus.
2013 data shows that the range of the city’s daily tourism carrying capacity was between 87,573 and 94,956 visitors, while the yearly capacity ranged from 31.96 million to 34.66 million visitors.
The research was carried out in 2013 and 2014, asking about 6,000 locals and tourists about their thoughts of Macau’s tourism industry and their experiences.
IFT lecturer Patrick Lo Chun Pong said factors that the researchers took into account when carrying out the study included the perceptions of locals and tourists on the level of crowding, satisfaction with environmental conditions, transportation services and checkpoint immigration clearance, as well as service quality in retail outlets, hotels and restaurants.
Lo said the researchers also evaluated factors such as hotel accommodation, dining facilities, public transport, checkpoint crossings, tourist attractions, and tour operations.
He said the IFT researchers suggested to create and promote more tourist attractions as a way to divert visitors to different parts of the city, take measures to attract a greater variety of tourists and improve and expand service infrastructure, while the dates of events catering to visitors should be evenly spread to avoid overcrowding during certain periods of the year. He added that public transport was a significant problem that needed to be addressed.
Leonardo Dioko, director of the IFT Tourism Research Centre (ITRC), stressed the importance of people’s subjective views as researchers tried to determine the levels of Macau’s tourism carrying capacity.
“If you have tourism numbers beyond that line [maximum capacity], our data suggests that the experience of both residents and visitors will be negative, and if you have visitation below that line [minimum capacity], it’s not too good for us [Macau] either,” Dioko said. “So, in fact, capacity is more of a range, you don’t want to be too low, [but] you don’t want to be too much at anytime.”
Vong also said that tourists were too concentrated in certain areas of the city during specific periods, suggesting that the government should consider how to divert visitors to alternative areas from a management point of view.
According to the Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC), Macau recorded a record 31.5 million visitor arrivals last year, up 7.5 percent year-on-year. In 2011, the number of visitor arrivals rose 12.2 percent year-on-year to 28 million. In 2007, the number of visitor arrivals stood at 27 million, up 22.8 percent. (macaunews/macaupost)