The number of tourists entering Macau is down more than 90% since 27 January 2020, with the SAR recording its lowest ever visitation last Saturday, according to data from the Public Security Police Force.
The decline began in earnest in the week running from 20 to 26 January as the impact of mainland China’s Coronavirus outbreak began to hit, with the 630,000 tourist visits representing a 30% year-on-year decline.
Since 27 January, the same day the government changed the daily closing time of the border gate from 1am to 10pm, visitor numbers have been provided on a daily basis. Notably, the government also issued a requirement on 27 January for visitors from Hubei Province to provide health certifications which guarantee they are not infected by the Coronavirus if they are to be granted entry to Macau. None have been able to provide such certification.
Tourist numbers gradually decreased from 36,000 per day to 8,000 per day from 27 January to 4 February, a period which included the Chinese New Year “Golden Week” – traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for Macau’s casino operators. However, on 4 February, two more Macau residents were found to be infected by the Coronavirus, taking the Macau total to 10. Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng subsequently announced the closure of all 41 casinos and other gaming operations from midnight on 5 February for 15 days, with the aim of preventing the virus’ spread.
Tourist numbers dropped to 4,500 on 5 February, a 43.7% decline compared with the previous day, and then plummeted to just 2,800 on Saturday 8 February – the lowest single-day total since the Public Security Police Force began keeping records.
A total of 187,000 tourists arrived in Macau between 27 January and 10 February, a 90% year-on-year decline.
Last year, over 39.4 million tourists visited Macau, including more 27 million from mainland China. On average, the city served more than 107,000 tourists every day.
Around 3,000 hotel rooms in eight hotels and 15 guesthouses have now suspended operations amid the significant drop in tourists. The number of confirmed cases of the virus in Macau remains at 10, having held steady in the first week since casinos closed their doors.