While Macau’s casino gambling industry witnessed one of the worst financial years in terms of revenue generation, the mecca of gambling reported having hosted more visitors in 2019.
According to the figures released by the city’s Public Security Police, the number of visitors entering Macau jumped over 10 percent when compared to the number of tourists visiting the city the previous year. Over 39.4 million people visited Macau in 2019, while in 2018 Macau received 35.8 million visitors.
However, a noticeable difference in the tourists visiting Macau in 2019 is that about 28 million of the visitors came from mainland China. Apart from mainland China, the majority came from Hong Kong, followed by Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, Japan, the United States, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Singapore, and Australia.
The maximum number of tourists came through the Border Gate checkpoint that links Zhuhai in China with Macau. The checkpoint saw 145 million entries and exits. However, these numbers are inclusive of tourists and daily commuters.
Does increased tourism mean increased burden?
While one may think that it is great for the city’s economy to have more tourists, some lawmakers in Macau might beg to differ. Also, the increased number of visitors did not help Macau’s casino gambling industry that contributes over 80 percent of the tax revenue.
Senator Sulu Sou has been critical of increased tourism and has gone to the extremes of proposing to ban tourism and introducing a tourism tax in Macau. Earlier in 2019, the lawmaker argued that increased tourism means increased burden as the city infrastructure is inadequate to support such high numbers of visitors.
Moreover, he claimed that increased tourism leads to increased rent and prices making it challenging for the locals. The traffic is also an issue that locals find challenging with tourists visiting in millions.
While Sou had raised the concerns and called for limiting tourism in the city, he did not gain much support.