Tourists reach record high 39.4m

Macau received 39.4 million visitors in 2019, recording an increase of about 10% from 2018’s 35.8 million, according to data provided by the Public Security Police Force (PSP).

Mainland tourists accounted for the majority, with about 28 million tourist arrivals, followed by tourists from Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, Japan, the United States, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Singapore and Australia.

The checkpoints recorded a total of 194 million crossings, an increase of about 9% from the 179 million recorded in 2018. This is the seventh consecutive year that numbers have increased.

The Border Gate at Portas do Cerco remains the checkpoint with the highest recorded number of visitors entering the SAR.

According to the data, PSP recorded a total of 145 million entries and exits, an increase of about 8% year-on-year. The total figure accounted for 75% of the total number of entries and exits.

The entry-exit flow was the highest in December, when the city recorded a total of 484,000 tourist arrivals and departures.

The data also shows that passenger traffic has continued to increase since the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which has become the second-largest entry-exit port in Macau. In 2019, 13.3 million people used the delta-spanning bridge.

Meanwhile, the airport recorded more than 9 million arrivals and departures, an increase of 16% year-on-year, and a record high of 31,000 single-entry entry records on August 16, 2019.

In October, Macau Government Tourism Office director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said that the office expects Macau’s number of visitor arrivals to reach nearly 40 million, citing the popularity of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

Later, the tourism authority said various factors may prevent visitor growth from breaching the 40-million mark. The China-U.S. trade war and social unrest in Hong Kong were among the cited factors.

In April last year, research conducted by the Institute for Tourism Studies showed that Macau has a tourism-carrying capacity of 40 million per year, which equates to almost 110,000 tourists per day.

This is the estimated maximum the city can accommodate without negatively impacting the cultural and natural environment, such as the city’s architecture, heritage and community, as well as visitor experiences.

The research was intended to act as an estimate of the “optimal tourism carrying capacity,” taking into account the “social and psychological carrying capacity” and “physical capacity of tourism facilities.”

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