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Casinos are still the biggest draw for visitors to Macao, a leading hotelier says

Visitors to the territory over the long weekend don’t appear to have read the memo on Macao’s economic diversification.

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Visitors to the territory over the long weekend don’t appear to have read the memo on Macao’s economic diversification.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:27 am

Although the local government is pushing hard to diversify Macao’s gaming-dependent economy, it was hotels with casinos that attracted the most visitors during the three-day Easter weekend, Lusa reports.

Rutger Verschuren, vice president of the Macau Hotel Association, told the Portuguese news agency that “hotels with gambling were almost full”.

By contrast, hotels without casinos posted occupancy rates as low as 60 percent.

Verschuren added that casino operators weren’t just giving free accommodation to high rollers but instead were “aggressively filling rooms” to boost gaming revenue. “Even tourists with little gaming track record can enjoy complimentary rooms”, he said.

Macao’s gaming concessionaires will invest billions of patacas in non-gaming ventures in the coming years at the government’s behest, hoping to use nonstop entertainment and large-scale sporting and cultural events to attract visitors.

[See more: Gaming revenues are ‘comfortably exceeding’ estimates, according to analysts]

Prominent gaming figures are supportive of plans to diversify Macao’s tourism offerings. “We cannot just rely on gaming”, Wilfred Wong, the president and executive director of Sands China, told a recent business gathering. “This is not healthy”. 

Last week, Melco Resorts & Entertainment’s CEO Lawrence Ho said that 90 percent of the newly opened Studio City phase two project in Cotai was devoted to non-gaming amenities.

However, some experts are sceptical of Macao’s bid to reinvent itself. In February, leading consultant Alidad Tash told Macao News that gaming companies were willing to invest in non-gaming infrastructure “because it just looks more positive.” 

But, he continued: “We already have world-class restaurants. How many more can you add? How many more shows are going to attract people to come all the way from northern China to Macao? It’s a challenge, it’s always been a challenge”.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:27 am

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