Visitor arrival increases
For July 2017, visitor arrivals for Macao casinos increased 4.4% YoY (year-over-year) to 2.9 million visitors. However, on a month-over-month basis, visitor arrivals increased 22.7% on the back of a poor June performance. Visitor arrivals have been improving since September 2016, with the exception in February 2017 when they fell 5.6% to 2.5 million visitors.
Visitor arrivals in the Macao region for the first seven months of the year have risen 5.3% YoY to 18.5 million visitors.
Visitors from China increase
Macao has become increasingly popular as a gaming and tourist destination for neighboring countries, including China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Of those, Mainland China visitors make up the largest part. For July 2017, China contributed 2.0 million visitors, a rise of 9.6% YoY.
That was followed by Hong Kong, which contributed 559,421 visitors to Macao. However, that was a 9.6% YoY decline. Taiwan contributed 102,990 visitors, a fall of 0.30% YoY. Visitors from South Korea increased a significant 42.6% YoY to 74,129 visitors.
The United States increased to 108,721 visitors, and Canada increased to 42,571. On the other hand, visitors from the United Kingdom decreased to 33,105, and visitors from Australia fell to 51,407.
What to expect
The Macao Government Tourism Office (or MGTO) expects a steady growth in visitor arrivals for the second half of 2017 due to new resort openings for the period.
Investors can gain exposure to casino stocks by investing in the PowerShares Dynamic Leisure & Entertainment (PEJ), which invests 14.7% of its portfolio in casinos, including 5.4% in MGM Resorts (MGM) and 3.2% in Wynn Resorts (WYNN). However, it has no holdings in Las Vegas Sands (LVS) or Melco Crown Entertainment (MPEL). In the next part of this series, we’ll look at Macao’s unemployment rate.