Macau Casinos Report Strong Bookings for Golden Week, Five Hotels Say, ‘No Vacancy’

Posted on: September 15, 2020, 01:39h. 

Last updated on: September 16, 2020, 08:12h.

Macau casinos are in desperate need of guests, and they’ll soon receive an influx of visitors with the annual Golden Week holiday.

Macau casinos Golden Week China
Macau casinos are preparing for a busy Golden Week, one that will occur in the midst of a global pandemic. Pictured here are visitors last year taking selfies in front of the Ruins of Saint Paul’s. (Image: GGRAsia)

China’s State Council has designated October 1-8 as the official holiday period, and not even a global pandemic can stop Chinese mainlanders from venturing to the country’s Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Macau. The annual holiday period is one of the largest human migration periods, as nearly one billion people embark on a vacation.

Implemented in 2000 as a way of increasing domestic tourism, Golden Week kicks off with China’s National Day on October 1. Most companies give workers three or four days of paid leave, and paired with two weekend days, affords tens of millions of People’s Republic residents time to travel.

Macau has become a preferred destination for many, as the enclave is the only region in China where commercial gambling is permitted. Despite ongoing concerns with COVID-19, many Chinese people are booking trips to the world’s richest casino center.

Rooms Going Fast

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau has plunged 81.6 percent January through August, the six licensed casino operators winning $4.5 billion. Total visitor arrivals into Macau is down 86 percent year-over-year, January through July, compared with the same seven months in 2019.

August’s visitor numbers will be released next week, and should reveal a slight return of tourists.

Entry restrictions into Macau eased last month, as the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) was reinstituted. The visa program allows mainland China residents in the Guangdong province and Zhuhai to come and go without quarantining.

Macau’s occupancy rate for its 34,900 guestrooms was just 12.1 percent in July. August won’t be much better, but September and October brings some optimism to the industry.

Morgan Stanley surveyed Macau hotel operators and found that of the five-star segment, the resorts were reporting an average occupancy rate of 80 percent for the Golden Week period. Two weeks out, five hotels said they were fully booked: Four Seasons, Morpheus, Ritz-Carlton, StarWorld, and Studio City.

City of Dreams’ Morpheus tower and Studio City are Melco Resorts properties. StarWorld and Ritz-Carlton are located at the Galaxy Macau complex, which is owned by Galaxy Entertainment. Four Seasons is part of The Plaza, owned by Las Vegas Sands.

All of the five-star hotels sold out for Golden Week are located on the Cotai Strip.

Top Dollar Rates

Those who are booking rooms now will need to shell out big bucks for a premiere property.

Mandarin Oriental has rooms for the week on an average nightly rate of $406 (exclusive of taxes and fees). MGM Macau is running $319 a night, The Venetian $285, MGM Cotai $245, Galaxy $238, and The Parisian $200.

The following week, those same properties:

  • Mandarin Oriental: $313
  • MGM Macau: $175
  • The Venetian: $134
  • MGM Cotai: $223
  • Galaxy: $180
  • The Parisian: $97