China’s Golden Week couldn’t come at a better time for Macau’s resort industry. Just a little more than a month removed from August’s Typhoon Hato that killed 10 locals and injured hundreds, Macau casinos are hoping to make up on lost revenue during the weeklong holiday that runs October 1-8.

China Golden Week Macau casinos

Macau casinos on the Cotai Strip are ready to welcome the tens of thousands of tourists expected to descend on the gaming town during Golden Week. (Image: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg)

Golden Week is a semiannual seven-day holiday that China implemented in 2000 to boost tourism and provide working citizens with guaranteed time off. Employees are guaranteed three days of paid vacation in the communist nation, and many embark on trips with their families around the country.

In 2017, many are going to Macau, China’s special gaming enclave. And the Cotai Strip is the place to be.

Investment firm Deutsche Bank predicts this Golden Week could be China’s busiest in four years. “The Cotai Strip in Macau is particularly popular this year,” Deutsche Bank analyst Karen Tang stated.

Typhoon Hato, a powerful cyclonic storm, caused an estimated economic loss in Macau of $1.42 billion. Casinos were forced to close as the Category 3-equivalent typhoon wreaked havoc across the region.

The other Golden Week period takes place over the Chinese New Year, set for February 15-21 in 2018.

Hard to Find Hotels

Dubbed Macau’s “Las Vegas Strip,” Cotai resorts are reporting that they’re nearly fully booked ahead of the holiday. Rooms are hard to come by at the premiere resorts, though they can be had for the right price.

An online search at The Venetian, Parisian, and Studio City all turned up rooms, but they’re costing as much as MOP 5000 ($621) per night. By comparison, the following week the same rooms are going for as little as $110.

Wynn Palace, which opened a year ago just in time for Golden Week, is completely booked. Wynn Macau COO Linda Chen told GGRAsia that resorts must find a fine line in taking mass market reservations, while assuring that they have rooms available for last-minute VIP guests.

“We put more emphasis on the quality of guests instead of the quantity,” Chen explained. “Our occupancy rate has always been very high. And it is definitely fully booked during the Golden Week.”

Falling Into Fall

When Macau’s gaming revenue report for September is issued on October 1, the day Golden Week kicks off, the industry is bracing for dreary data.   

Nomura, an Asian global financial research firm that monitors economies and industries in more than 30 countries, predicts Macau gross gaming revenue will grow 15 percent compared to the same month in 2016. While that might seem like positive news, 15 percent would mark Macau’s second-lowest monthly increase in 2017.

With total income forecasted to come in around MOP 21 billion ($2.6 billion), September would also be the city’s second consecutive month where revenues dropped from the previous period. 

Revenue totaled $2.85 billion in July, Macau’s best percentage gain in 2017 at over 29 percent, but then fell to $2.81 billion in August.

However, Nomura analysts said they are bullish on a post-typhoon recovery period, one presumably fueled by Golden Week.