Macau govt. eyeing to put aside $22.3M for package tours, promotions to drive visitation levels

Cheng Wai Tong, Deputy Director of the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO), revealed on Wednesday that the office has proposed to allocate MOP180 million ($22.3 million) for promotional campaigns over package tours. The plan includes a subsidy scheme for tourists from the Chinese mainland, overseas countries, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Last week, authorities announced they would issue up to 120,000 air tickets to attract international visitors. They will additionally provide subsidies for mainland Chinese tourists who stay in the city for more than one night, with each traveler from Guangdong entitled to MOP150 ($18.54) per night, or MOP300 ($37.09) for two nights; and between MOP250 ($30.91) and MOP400 ($49.45) for those from outside Guangdong.

MGTO is also considering extending the subsidy scheme to tourists from overseas countries, Hong Kong and Taiwan, with MOP350 ($43.27) for one night and MOP500 ($61.82) for two nights tentatively. The MOP180 million subsidy is a short-term measure, with MGTO partnering with online travel platforms to promote the campaign, Cheng said, as reported by Macau Business. The campaign will last for as long as the budget can allow.

The Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) official emphasized that after the three-year pandemic, the tourism industry needs support from the SAR government to provide affordable tourist services.

It was reported over the last few days that most recent visitors to the city were there for shopping or to enjoy the culinary scene, accounting for over 85%, while less than 5% of them came to gamble in casinos.

MGTO has identified that the largest portion of visitor arrivals comprises young and middle-aged people, classified as those aged between 18 and 35. Thus, the office has implemented online promotions and “innovative services” to ensure that this group is catered to.

In addition, the authorities have discussed with Air Macau about potentially increasing international flight frequency to two or three per week. This would give overseas visitors more opportunities to plan their visits to the city.

Meanwhile, Cheng revealed that they would continue to come up with more tourism products in the Historic Centre of Macau, a cluster of over 20 sites with historical significance, which are scattered near the city’s iconic roadway where the recent ‘Strolling on Almeida Ribeiro’ campaign elicited a positive response.

Last week, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau announced that gross gaming revenue climbed 82.5% in January from a year earlier to 11.6 billion patacas ($1.4 billion). The figures beat the median estimate of a 36.5% increase, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg

January marks the first rise since February last year and the highest monthly revenue since January 2020. The recovery follows 10 consecutive months of double-digit declines as Covid Zero policies and a crackdown on cross-border gambling kept casinos mostly empty for much of 2022.