Travel TrendsChinese travellers continue to prop up Macau’s tourism rebound success during the Labour Day holiday.

Golden opportunity in Macau's Golden Week visitor spike

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With Macau being the only destination in the world open to Chinese tourists without a mandatory 14-day quarantine, the Macao Government Tourism Office has ramped up its promotion and marketing efforts in mainland China in recent months.
With Macau being the only destination in the world open to Chinese tourists without a mandatory 14-day quarantine, the Macao Government Tourism Office has ramped up its promotion and marketing efforts in mainland China in recent months. Photo Credit: Facebook/Macao Government Tourism Office USA

While Hong Kong and Singapore await the launch of a quarantine-free travel bubble in end May, Macau has been busy receiving visitors and launching new products since reopening September 2020.

Arrivals have been trending up month-on-month since January, hitting their highest daily level in a year on 17 April (just under 35,000).

Then came the golden opportunity over Golden Week from 1-5 May, which saw Macau on Saturday (May 1) – at the start of the Labour Day Golden Week – recording its highest daily total of visitor arrivals (44,000), according to preliminary data released by the city’s authorities.

Trip.com Group, whose platforms include Ctrip, Skyscanner and Qunar, estimated upwards of 200 million tourists taking advantage of the five-day break.

Looking at the group’s data in pre-pandemic times, hotel bookings in China went up 43% over the 2019 holiday, with bookings of Macau travel products across the board up 20% over the same period, and hotel bookings doubled. In 2021, Trip.com projects Golden Week arrivals will best the almost 100,000 Chinese arrivals over Easter and Qingming Festival in early April.

“[We] foresee possible daily visitor arrivals to exceed 30,000," a spokesperson from the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) told Travel Weekly Asia. "According to some booking data released by online travel agencies and local hotels, the city’s overall hotel occupancy rate is expected to hit 70% during the May Golden Week.”

Ctrip is offering discounts of up to 60% on Macau hotels, among them the Guia, the Grand Hyatt and the Wynn Palace, for outbound tourists from China, as well as May Day discounts on popular attractions including Macao Tower and interactive art space, teamLab SuperNature Macao.

The MGTO began preparing for a potential spike in mainland visitors as far back as September 2020, launching what it called “online and offline promotions tailored for the Mainland market,” setting up roadshows in various mainland cities to highlight Macau as a safe and healthy destination.

March’s Macao Week in Hangzhou incorporated traditional advertising as well as social media saturation on channels Weibo, WeChat and Douyin, while also inviting popular key opinion leaders to livestream from Hubin Pedestrian Street, the roadshow’s location. The promotions will continue for Golden Week, as the MGTO partners with Tencent for hotel and consumer discount voucher distribution, and Alibaba (through its Fliggy platform) on buy-two-get-one fight tickets.

Trip.com notes luxury hotels account for more than 50% of its total Golden Week reservations, which dovetails with existing “travel trends, where many mainland Chinese travellers are opting for a hotel-based vacation to spend the national holiday".

Mandarin Oriental Macau's general manager, Christian Dolenc points out the hotel’s waterfront location on the peninsula makes it ideal for bespoke experiences, particular at its spa. “Macau has evolved over the last year and many artisan offerings have sprung up around the city, many only a short stroll from the hotel.”

As of May, Macau is the only location in the world open to Chinese tourists without a mandatory 14-day quarantine. The pandemic situation remains stable in Macau, where the city has to date recorded Covid-19 cases in just double digits.

In anticipation of the peak travel period, officials from the Public Security Police Force, the Health Bureau, the MGTO, and the Consumer Council gave a briefing on 29 April to media on preparations over boundary-crossing controls, customs procedures, public health, and anti-epidemic control measures.

“Given the impeccable track record of our city and Macau’s reputation as a very safe place for travel, we are already seeing a return of business,” added Dolenc. “We are optimistic about the prospects for the remainder of 2021, [but] our focus must however continue to be on safety.”

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