Visitation to Macau has reached pre-pandemic levels - Alamy
The number of visitors who make the trip to Macau in China has topped 3 million for the first time since before the beginning of the global coronavirus pandemic in late 2019. People have historically flocked to the "Las Vegas of the East" to gamble at land-based casinos, although casino sites are not legal in the area.
Some 3.2 million people traveled to Macau in August of this year. The 3 million mark was passed last in October, 2019. Visitation remained high until January 2020, with a steep decline in the proceeding 24 months before numbers began to climb in January of this year.
The number of visitors has increased tenfold compared to August 2022, according to DSEC (the Statistics and Census Service). The first eight months of 2023 saw some 17.6 million tourists make the trip, four times as much as the same period in 2022.
The numbers of visitors to Macau each month - Statista
Macau saw considerable increases in the number of visitors after COVID-19 testing requirements were dropped for inbound travelers from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
According to DSEC, 72% or 2.3 million of the visitors come from mainland China. A further 711,684 people travel from Hong Kong.
The good news coincides with the 'Golden Week' holiday, an eight-day vacation celebrated in the area. The holiday is expected to bolster Macau's gaming revenue following a month of slow growth in September, according to Bloomberg.
Angela HanLee of Bloomberg Intelligence cited adverse weather conditions as the reason behind the slow revenue growth.
"For the month of September I think it's purely weather reasons. Two weekends were wasted, the first weekend because of the typhoon, and the second reason because of rainstorms.
"This is the peak of the leisure traveling season for the domestic market."
It's expected that over one million people will travel to Macau from the Chinese mainland during the eight-day 'Golden Week' holiday. This included around 720 group tours scheduled.
Likewise, analysts George Choi and Ryan Cheung anticipate four-year high revenues in Macau following Golden Week thanks to an audacious schedule of activities planned by Macau's six casino operators, including performances from Eason Chan, Terence Lam, MC Chueng Tin Fu, and Kelly Chen.
Prior to the pandemic, gross revenue from gaming and gambling in Macau peaked at 361.87 billion patacas ($44.8 billion) in 2013 but dropped at low as 42.84 billion patacas ($5.3 billion) in 2022.
Macau boasts some of the biggest casinos worldwide in terms of square feet as of 2022. Five of the seven largest casinos in the world are in the special administrative region;