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Expensive flights deter foreign tourists

Macao Government Tourism Office’s Cheng Wai Tong attributes sluggish international tourism to limited international flight links and the soaring cost of airfares.

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Macao Government Tourism Office’s Cheng Wai Tong attributes sluggish international tourism to limited international flight links and the soaring cost of airfares.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

Macao saw less than a third of its pre-pandemic numbers of foreign tourists in the first six months of 2023. The skyrocketing prices of flights are one reason for this, TDM reports.

Sub-director of the Macao Government Tourism Office Cheng Wai Tong said that while the desire to travel is very high, the cost of flying into Macao is a serious barrier for people who would otherwise be interested in visiting.

About 470,000 foreign tourists entered Macao between January and June this year; 27 percent of 2019’s numbers. South Korea used to be in the top five places of where inbound tourists came from, but now they make up barely any of the city’s visitor numbers.

[See more: Opinion: Macao can forget about being an international destination until it fixes its taxi problem]

Overnight tourists’ average length of stay in Macao has been 2.2 days since February, which may indicate the city lacks compelling reasons for visitors to stay longer.

In June, 2,209,662 people in total visited Macao (less than the month prior, and part of a downward trend). Visitors from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong made up 2,089,560 of that number, meaning less than 5.5 percent of visitors were foreign passport holders. That’s in spite of well-publicised efforts by the government to lure more international travellers to the territory.

Part of the government’s push for more tourists is a significant airport expansion, approved by Beijing last year. No timeline has been given for the project’s completion, but it is set to add an additional 130 hectares of reclaimed land to Macao International Airport, according to the Civil Aviation Authority. This would bring the airport’s handling capacity to 15 million passengers per year.

 

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