Macau Sees A Massive Influx Of Tourists But GGR Shows No Increase
Macau, the biggest gambling hub in the world turned its focus over the last couple of years to bringing in more tourists from Mainland China and from the rest of the world.
A 55 km bridge that connects Macau to Guangdong province opened recently and was responsible for bringing in 10 million tourists from mainland China in the first quarter of 2019.
While the increase in tourist numbers is good for Macau’s tourism industry, it did not do anything to boost the combined gross gaming revenues of the casino industry. Macau generates more than $38 billion in combined gross gaming revenues (GGR) from its six licensed operators which are Wynn Macau, MGM China, Melco Resorts and Entertainment, Sands China, SJM Holdings and Galaxy Entertainment.
The combined GGR reported from these license holders showed a dip of 0.5 percent for the first quarter of 2019. These numbers clearly show us that even though tourism has gone up by more than a fifth when compared to the same period in 2018, the combined GGR has dropped.
One of the main reasons for this is because the majority of tourists who are visiting Macau are not gamblers. They are usually visitors who are looking to do a day trip or at most spend a night in the city and leave the next day.
From Gaming To Beyond Gaming
Macau’s government has encouraged gambling operators for the last few years to focus on increasing their non-gaming activities in an effort to transform Macau’s image of being a gambling paradise to being a family oriented tourist destination. As a result, Macau’s casinos have focused on developing more entertainment and adventure friendly facilities to bring in a different crowd.
The strategy appears to be working for both the government and the casino operators but at the end of the day it is not resulting in more revenues. Macau recently hosted the popular G2E Asia conference at the Venetian Macau and the focus was to move from ‘Gaming to Beyond Gaming’.
The Macao Government Tourist Office showed that tourists where showing interests in food festivals, art shows and conferences but admitted that it was difficult for them to quantify their exact financial contributions to Macau’s economy.
It might be time for Macau’s casino operators to shift the focus a little and look at getting more tourists into their casino floors.