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Macau: Macau Tourism Profile 2012

2012/03/16

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Macau Tourism Profile 2012

Analyse of the sector 29/11/2010
Events in second half of 2008 sour growth
The first half of 2008 saw quite strong growth, and overall, moderate growth was achieved for 2008. However, numerous factors had a negative impact on the industry in the second half of the year. The full brunt of the global economic turmoil began to be felt on the local economy, a reduction in Chinese visitor arrivals occurred due to tougher restrictions imposed by Beijing and a drop in Taiwanese business people using Macau as a transit hub to China due to the commencement of direct Taiwan-China flights.
 
Reliance on Chinese-speaking markets
 
Macau's key sources for arrivals, China, which accounted for almost half of total arrivals in 2008, Hong Kong and Taiwan, account for a combined four-fifths share of total arrivals. This heavy reliance on a limited source of arrivals makes the city quite vulnerable to external, including political and economic, issues. During the latter part of 2008, Macau experienced significant reductions in arrivals from China and Taiwan due to political decisions made outside its borders. The impact has encouraged city tourism authorities to adopt a strategy to promote Macau to a wider audience across Asia and the Middle East, as well as Europe.
 
China's dominance
 
China remains the largest source of visitors to Macau, accounting for almost half of total arrivals in 2008. In October 2008, Beijing changed regulations to make it more difficult for Chinese to visit Macau. This has had a significant effect on gambling revenue, which in turn has impacted investment in current and future projects. The tougher restrictions are expected to take an even greater toll in the near future.
 
Driving the need for diversification
 
Macau has long relied on gambling as the cornerstone of its travel and tourism industry. In 2008, the city experienced the first decline in gambling revenues for many years as a result of Beijing’s efforts to reduce Chinese visiting Macau and due to the global economic slowdown. As a result, the Government appears eager to speed up plans to diversify its travel and tourism economy. MICE is one key area being pursued with vigour. Additionally, Macau wishes to develop a strong international image for the city, particularly emphasising the unique influence of Portuguese culture on Macau, its dining and its architecture.
 
Immediate future gloomy
 
With the downturn in the global economy and the full impact of the tougher restrictions on Chinese travelling to Macau expected to continue, the short- to medium-term future of the travel and tourism industry appears gloomy. As the global economy begins to pick up and as the city diversifies its travel and tourism industry more to cushion some of the impact of the downturn, Macau will see demand begin to grow. The longer term is expected to see the travel and tourism industry bounce back when the global economy picks up again.