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Foreign visitor arrivals rose sharply in the first six months of 2024

Some 1.17 million international visitors took a trip to Macao during the first half of this year, bringing the city one step closer to reaching its target of 2 million foreign tourists
  • The MGTO is looking to continue expanding the international market base with videos, direct flight routes and promotional events

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ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

Macao welcomed around 1.17 million international visitors during the first half of this year, according to the acting head of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Ricky Hoi, in a recent interview with local broadcaster TDM. 

Based on the robust figures so far, Hoi expressed confidence that the office would reach its target of 2 million foreign visitors by the end of this year or around two-thirds of the total registered in pre-pandemic 2019. 

Meanwhile, data from the Statistics and Census Service shows that the international tour visitor numbers totalled 88,000 in the initial five months of this year – a huge increase over the same period last year.

Hoi said that there were 18,000 foreign tourists visiting the city in May alone as part of packaged tours, a five-time increase in comparison to the same month in 2023. He singled out the Korean and Indian markets, whose packaged tour visitor levels grew by 27.4 times and 35.2 times respectively in the first five months of 2024. 

Regarding the MGTO’s strategies to further boost the market, the acting MGTO chief said, “currently, our main focus is on [the markets in] Southeast and Northeast Asia. We are doing promotions for the visitors in these two areas.” 

[See more: Macao expects no real growth in July and August visitor numbers]

Hoi said a “large-scale promotional video” was in the works for the second half of this year, which would be aimed at different international markets. He also acknowledged the importance of opening up direct flight routes between Macao and other international destinations as a means of expanding the international market.

The latter point was reinforced by the head of the Travel Industry Council of Macau, Andy Wu. “I believe that after we increase the operating capacity [of the air carriers], the desire of international travellers to come to Macao will be even stronger,” Wu said. 

Official data indicates that the airport handled 1.93 million passengers during the second quarter of this year, or 81 percent of the 2.38 million passengers recorded during the same period in 2019. 

As for the international visitor numbers in the second half of 2024, Wu expressed confidence that it would exceed the first five months of this year, highlighting the many activities, events and exhibitions that are due to be held. 

The Macao government has been working to boost the international market in an effort to shed the city’s overreliance on mainland Chinese tourists, which accounted for almost 70 percent of the market in the first five months of this year. 

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