CNY | Tourist arrivals fail to meet gov’t’s forecast

Macau welcomed a total of 77,383 tourist arrivals during the first six days of the Chinese New Year (CNY) between February 11 to 16, down 68.2% year-on-year, according to the provisional data released by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
The aggregate tally translates to an average of 12, 897 daily tourist arrivals — which fails to meet the earlier forecast of a daily number of 16,000 to 20,000, anticipated by the director of MGTO, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes.
Fernandes announced the forecasted number of arrivals over the CNY period on February 10 in an annual press conference. She estimated the total tourist arrivals from February 11 to 17 to stand “around or over 100,000.” — a prognosis she already considered as not very encouraging.
However, the first-six-day tally of 77,383 signifies that Macau will need at least 22,617 more tourists arriving yesterday, February 17, to reach Fernandes’s already-prudent weekly projection for CNY — which is likely to fall flat if the current average daily arrival is something to go by.
The worse-than-expected tourism performance during the Spring Festival is believed to be linked with lowered travel intention into Macau — which may be due to many being discouraged by the recent Covid-19 outbreaks in China and the travel advisories issued by China’s municipal governments advising their residents to avoid unnecessary travel during the festival to minimize contagion risk.
The daily tourist arrivals on February 14, the fourth day of the Spring Festival Golden Week as well as Valentine’s Day, totaled 17,357 and turned out to be the highest daily number by far.
It was followed by 15,214 and 14,399 on February 15 and 16, respectively.
The total visitor arrivals from the mainland, which is Macau’s largest source market, stood at 70,336 for the first six days of CNY, down 49.6% from the same period last year.
According to the data, the city registered 13,110 visitor arrivals from the mainland on February 16, a 5.3% increase year-over-year. It was the day with the highest momentum and the only CNY day by far manifesting a year-on-year growth of mainland tourist numbers.
“We are hoping that visitor arrivals pick up following the CNY, and also after [a significant number of people receive] vaccination,” Fernandes said earlier.
In 2020, Macau registered 261,069 tourist arrivals during the seven-day Spring Festival from January 24 to 30, down a significant 78.3% from 1,201,912 in the corresponding period of 2019. The decline is mainly driven by the impact of the pandemic last year.
Fong Kin Fu, president of the Federal General Commercial Association of Macau Small and Medium Enterprises previously said that the number of shops operating in Macau at this year’s Spring Festival is fewer than that of last year.
Fu anticipates that the city’s retail sector has to endure an extended period of market inactivity before it returns to pre-pandemic levels.
In consideration of the uncertainties caused by the pandemic, Fernandes said MGTO is aims for six to 10 million tourist arrivals in 2021.

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