The Macau Daily Times has published the official visitor figures of DSEC for the first half of 2014. Whereas the official Q2 report for 2014 is not yet released (on the time of writing), the figures for January to June 2014 in conjunction with the Q1 2014 report can be used to determine individual figures for Q2 2014. As usual MDT is not analysing the figures in relation to its historical data and hence I would like to present further information to bring the visitor figures into correlation.
First, it is stated that Visitors from mainland China (+15%), Taiwan (+2%) and the Republic of Korea (+18%) increased year-on-year, while the number of visitors from Hong Kong (-6%) decreased.
Whereas the individual comparisons are correct, one needs to go one step further and have a look at the longterm development. As can be seen in above graph, Taiwanese visitor figures are on a slow decline since 2009. Hence the +2% might be just a slight peak up in an overall downwards trend.
Next, Korea is reported +18% year-to-year (226 thousand vs. 267 thousand) which is in line with the overall trend since 2009.
Once again, China is leading the pack with most visitors and the figure is once again climbing. Hongkong however is tender further downwards.
Second, MDT is reporting about Long-haul visitors from the United States (15,317) registered a year-on-year increase; on the contrary, the number of arrivals from Australia (6,899), Canada (4,422) and the United Kingdom (3,908) all marked decreases.
As astonishing the figures might be on the shortterm, in the longterm it becomes clear that nothing has really changed. All four English-speaking countries go through seasonal ups and downs, however stay more or less in the same bandwidth of visitors.
Note: It is not clear how e.g. bluecard holders are being counted as visitors or non-visitors. I.e. would the American workforce of Wynn count as a visitor everytime they go for a weekend to Hongkong and come back? If yes, then the above shown graphs are drastically misrepresenting the “true” visitors figures to Macau.
Then once again, the hidden truth might be revealed in the following graph:
China is on the rise with Hongkong visitors on a stark decline. Rest of world displays a three quarter continuous minor growth (in comparison to previous year same quarter), yet this can shift easily (as there had been two years of continuous decline beforehand). The implications of the above are exactly what needs to be discussed both in terms of where Macau would like to see itself as a gaming and tourism hub as well as the needs for the industry.
E.g. if non-Chinese speaking visitors are on a decline overall, why would there be the need to diversify one’s workforce to serve this small market share. Or the other way round, what is being done to prevent the decrease in visitors, i.e. how is Macau being made more attractive for non-mainland Chinese visitors?