Our Desk | Goodbye, staycation!

Lynzy Valles

Since at least June, nearly all hotels in the city, particularly 5-star ones, have been offering good deals for local residents, whether for in-hotel or dining promotions.
A staycation has become a getaway for residents, as no one would really dare to fly elsewhere given the Covid-19 situation in other countries, as well as the current strict travel restrictions imposed by different governments.
It’s the time of the year where residents would normally go out of the city and travel elsewhere to the beach or really anywhere – whether with their families or with a group friends.
The concept of staycation started in the United States during the 2008 financial crisis where many households restricted their expenses, therefore, limiting their vacation budget.
However, that idea differs from the reason why several hundred families have been booking hotels in the city.
The reason why the staycation is such a hit this summer was not due to a limited budget – but due to several promotions, along with the annual leave residents have. Many employers (especially gaming operators) are offering different kinds of leave as part of cost cutting measures.
Different hotels have been offering summer fun hotel packages targeting young adults and residents with children by offering dining credits or discounts at the integrated resort’s expositions or leisure activities.
Gaming operators have come up with every type of promotion they could think of to attract local residents in response to the virtually zero visitors to the city, which led to a significant economic downturn.
Some have even opened up their pools to the public by selling pool passes at a certain price and including dining credits.
The city’s gross gaming revenues (GGR) stood at 1.34 billion patacas in July, down 94.5% from a year earlier. July was the fourth straight month when GGR registered a more than 90% drop.
In June, government statistics showed that the average occupancy rate of guest rooms fell by 77.6 percentage points year-on-year to 11.8%.
The occupancy rate of 5-star hotels declined by 84.7 percentage points. The number of guests checked into hotels and guesthouses reduced by 88% year-on-year to 134,000; those from mainland China (67,000) and Hong Kong (11,000) both registered decreases of more than 90%.
The data also indicated that the number of local guests stood at 53,000, attributable to the accommodation promotions offered to residents by some hotels.
Hotels have been doing buy 1 get 1 free offers, while many have offered free breakfast or free dining credits of up to 500 patacas upon booking.
This summer has been high-time for families to book a series of packages for getaways, as nearly all have been stranded in the region.
However, given the breaking news yesterday that the central government would (finally) resume tourism visas for Zhuhai residents starting tomorrow, it is still unknown whether locals will want to continue the staycation-spree.
And who knows when these integrated resorts will stop the promotions that target local residents – given that only a small percentage of their long-awaited tourists are finally coming back.
Given that both group tour visas and Individual Visit Scheme visas will finally resume tomorrow for Zhuhai residents, it is highly possible that these promotions will soon come to a halt.
A few hotels have even recorded a sudden increase in bookings for their room packages right after the announcement by local officials.
For now, residents seem to have little time left to walk around the city with almost no visitors as the city may finally welcome back tourists from mainland China that gaming operators and business owners have long been awaiting for.
Seems like the city is also ready to welcome our ‘bread and butter.’

Categories Opinion