Macau – It has been reported today that visitor numbers in Macau, the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, have plunged to record lows due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the city’s Statistics and Census Service, numbers are down more than ninety percent to just over 150k in February 2020 compared with the same month last year.
Officials in Macau have put the blame squarely at the door of the Covid-19 crisis, which is still ongoing.
Measures implemented by the government over what is usually one of the busiest times for gaming and hospitality industries over Chinese Lunar New Year, included temporary closures of premises, 14 day quarantine and travel restrictions to and from China along with other countries further afield.
According to official data at the start of this month, gross gaming revenue was down over eighty percent compared with the same period in 2019 and the number of same day visitors and overnight stays dropped more than ninety percent.
Macau has a population of almost seven-hundred thousand residents and typically welcomes between 25 and 30 million visitors every year.
Tourism is a major industry in Macau, with a blend of Portuguese and Chinese cultures. Its gambling industry, which includes Casino Lisboa Macau, Sands Macau, The Venetian Macao, and Wynn Macau, is one of the largest contributors to the local government and local economy.
The top five destinations of visitors that usually visit the special administrative region have been some of the most severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak, including: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.
According to reports, the number of people who usually visit Macau from the USA and United Kingdom also declined dramatically.
Despite Macau businesses returning to almost normal operation, it is not yet clear how long the region will be negatively affected by falling visitor numbers, nor can officials predict whether figures will return to that of before Covid-19.