The Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office has described the current situation facing Macau’s hotel operators as worse than during the SARS outbreak of 2003 after revealing that the hotel occupancy rate plunged to just 11.6% in the week from 15 to 21 February.
“The current occupancy rate is worse than the SARS period, it is the worst time I have seen since I’ve entered the tourism industry,” Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes stated at a press conference on Tuesday after the average price of hotels rooms fell to just MOP$690.
It was also revealed that the occupancy rate of 5-star hotels was single digits only while 57% of 2-star hotels and guest houses were occupied. As the government requires non-resident workers to be quarantined for 14 days before entering into Macau, several local employers have rented these hotels for their non-resident employees.
The MGTO director noted it is difficult to evaluate when the epidemic in Macau and other nearby countries will ease, but said the government is working on revitalizing plans for the travel and hotel industries.
Meanwhile, the government is considering postponing the Macau Travel (Industry) Expo from April to September, together with the forum promoting Macau as the “UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy”. It also revealed that the International Fireworks Competition, usually held at the end of September, would likely be delayed as many firework factories in mainland China resume operations slowly.
Four more Macau casinos have now reopened after the 15-day closure, namely the Waldo and President casinos operating under Galaxy Entertainment Group’s license, plus Melco’s Altira and Grand Dragon, taking the total number of casinos now operating to 33. The remaining six casinos are required to re-open by 20 March.
In terms of hotels, the Conrad and St. Regis at Sands Cotai Central, THE 13 Hotel in Cotai and another 10 hotels under 3-stars remain closed. Sands China President Dr Wilfred Wong stated on Monday that Sands Cotai Central would be re-opening its casino operations as of this Thursday 27 February.