The number of visitors to Macau during the National Day Golden Week holiday period, which ran from 1 to 7 October 2019, grew 11.5% year-on-year to 980,000, including 947,000 from Greater China markets.
But the influx of tourists wasn’t reflected in gaming spend, with analysts estimating GGR for the period actually declined by between 11% and 12% when compared with 2018 Golden Week numbers.
JP Morgan’s DS Kim, Jeremy An and Derek Choi described gaming demand across the seven days as unexciting, with an average daily revenue (ADR) of MOP$1.15 billion per day – down 12% year-on-year.
“This decline may appear too big versus the estimated 3% drop for the month,” the analysts said, “but recall that last October had a (very) uneven base with a strong start from Golden Week versus a weak finish, partly due to President Xi’s visit to HK towards the end of the month. The 12% declines are actually well within our expectations.”
Sanford C Bernstein analysts indicated an 11% fall in GGR to MOP$1.16 billion per day, slightly below the ADR in Macau during Chinese New Year.
The declines were primarily on the back of low VIP volumes, which are believed to have declined by more than 20%. However, JP Morgan noted that mass volume was “quite solid.”
“To our relief, mass came in better than expected and grew high single digits year-on-year despite tough comps, although obviously lower than robust visitation growth,” the investment bank said in a note.
“This is the first time since July that mass trends didn’t disappoint, likely suggesting the impact from Hong Kong SAR protests might be subsiding.”
The analysts said they expect VIP trends to become “less bad” in the coming weeks, reflecting a particularly low base last year.
According to figures released by the Macao Government Tourism Office, Golden Week arrivals included a 9.4% increase in visitors from mainland China to 798,000, with arrivals from Hong Kong up 43.2% to 136,000.