Visitors are spending more time in Macau as the average length of stay at local hotels has reached a new record high in October, official data shows. Yet the territory is still far from reaching figures registered in other destinations.
According to the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC), guests have spent an average of 1.55 nights in MSAR hotels, up by 0.06 nights from the same period of 2010.
This figure is the highest ever registered in the territory since the DSEC began collecting data about this sector, in 1997. The average length of stay at local hotels has increased by 36 percent in the last six years – it was down to 1.14 nights in December 2005.
In another positive sign for the Macau tourism sector, the percentage of overnight visitors who check into a hotel or guesthouse also rose in October. About 61.6 percent of tourists were also hotel guests, up from 60.6 percent year-on-year.
But the MSAR remains far from length of stay numbers posted by other tourism destinations.
For instance, in 2010 visitors spent an average of 3.9 nights in Asia’s second biggest gaming hub, Singapore, and 3.6 nights both in the US casino capital, Las Vegas, and in neighbouring Hong Kong.
In fact the percentage of tourists spending less than a day in Macau is on the rise. In the first ten months of 2011 same-day visitors accounted for 53.8 percent of the total, at 12.4 million, up from 48.4 percent in 2009.
Meanwhile the number of visitor arrivals in package tours in the first ten months of this year is close to topping the whole of 2010. With just two months to go Macau has welcomed more than 5.7 million people on organised trips, up by 20.4 percent, just 600 short of last year’s total.
In October package tours brought more than 637,000 visitors to the MSAR, up by a staggering 60.9 percent year-on-year. It was the best October ever for local travel agencies.
But this sector remains highly dependent on the Chinese market, which accounts for more than two-thirds (72.3 percent) of the total. Visitors from the mainland reached almost 461,000, up by 67.7 percent year-on-year.
Yet the biggest spike came from South Korean package tours, which brought almost 24,200 people to Macau, more than twice the figure from October 2010. Although growing, Korean visitors are still behind Taiwan (43,600), which almost doubled as well, and Hong Kong (31,200).
The hospitality industry also benefited from tourist flows with the average occupancy rate for the 22,330 available rooms reaching 81.5 percent, up by three point’s year-on-year.
Local hotels and guesthouses recorded the best October ever, even though there were an extra 2,500 rooms available, mostly from the opening of Cotai resort Galaxy Macau.
Almost 715,000 people checked-in during October, up by 13.3 percent year-on-year, with the majority coming from Mainland China (56.9 percent of the total) and Hong Kong (16.3 percent).
In the opposite direction, the number of Macau residents travelling outbound on package tours in August decreased by 7.1 percent year-on-year to less than 17,900. The most popular itineraries were mainland China (75.6 percent), followed by an extensive gap with Taiwan (five percent) and Thailand (4.1 percent).
Local residents are increasingly travelling under their own arrangements using travel agencies. More than 523,100 did so between January and October, up by 27.9 percent from the same period of 2010.