The outlook for Macau is very optimistic despite the fact that the world has not yet mastered the virus of Chinese origin. Throughout 2020, Covid-19 ravaged casinos in this special administrative region of China. In fact, it was the sector most affected by the thunderous drop in the number of visitors.
But after losses amounting to around 75% of its gross gaming revenue (GGR) and the hotel and casino industry collapsed, Macau is preparing to return to its glory days, or at least that is what operators hope and hoteliers who are very optimistic about this year.
In a statement released last week, Macau’s Economy and Finance Secretary Lei Wai Nong predicted that the city will have a “stable and positive” economy this year. The authorities estimate that the GGR of Macao will be about $ 16,280 million.
Lei said visiting prospects have been affected, but noted that tourist arrivals have picked up since the mainland Chinese government further relaxed its strong travel visa regulations in the middle of last year.
Then, in the second half of december, visitor traffic to the city rose to record levels (compared to the 2020 average) for both Christmas and the New Year celebration.
The official indicated that one of the objectives of the Macau government for this year is to ensure that visitors stay longer in the city. In this way, it hopes to accelerate the recovery of that region.
“We are trying to get visitors from the mainland to stay longer in Macau if the number of visitors doesn’t increase much,” Lei explained. “We need to improve our services and products so that our visitors feel welcome and warm, and to attract them to visit Macau again,” he added.
But the efforts of the casino and hotel industry could be truncated due to the implementation of the negative covid-198 test prerequisite for visitors from foreign countries. The test had to be done in the seven days prior to the visit.
However, with the virus on the rise again in most of the world, the Macau government reduced that time frame to just 72 hours. This requirement will make things more difficult for last minute visitors, but also the rapid spread of the coronavirus is sure to make would-be travelers better reconsider their travels.
Another concern for operators is how the Macau gambling industry will be affected by the new anti-gambling laws in China. The Chinese government banned any type of scheme or business aimed at promoting foreign gambling in the country.
It is not even ruled out that this ban covers the commercialization of Macau casinos within mainland China. In this regard, Lei said:
“I think we have to observe mainland Chinese law, as well as Macau gambling law and the relevant gambling regulations. That is essential”.
And he added:
“We have been making adjustments to our gaming law … and to our anti-money laundering standards. We will continue to work well on those aspects so that our gaming industry can maintain a healthy development.”