Trip.com Aiding Macau Recovery, Doling out $22 Million in Travel Vouchers
Posted on: September 25, 2020, 12:24h.
Last updated on: September 25, 2020, 01:06h.
Trip.com (NASDAQ:TCOM), the Chinese online travel reservations provider, is doing its part to help Macau’s tourism-dependent economy rebound. They are offering $22 million worth of discounts to residents of mainland China to use when booking accommodations in the special administrative region (SAR).
The company, often viewed in US investment circles as the Chinese equivalent of Booking.com or Expedia, isn’t playing favorites when it comes to where tourists apply those hotel discounts. But Chairman and co-founder James Liang made the announcement yesterday at the Venetian Macau, which is owned by Las Vegas Sands (LVS). The event was designed to promote increased travel to the gaming hub for Golden Week, starting next month.
Users can enjoy up to 50 percent (CNY500) off when they make their reservation,” according to the travel company.
Trip.com executives added that they’ve been meeting with the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), “to discuss further collaborations that will reinvigorate tourism to Macau.”
Tourists looking to take advantage of the coupons must download an app to their mobile phones, the technology for which will be backed by Tencent Holdings, China’s largest internet company.
Right on Time
Trip.com’s voucher scheme comes as the MGTO is deploying a variety of marketing efforts, though none are directly aimed at gaming, to rejuvenate Macau’s travel sector.
For the travel company and concessionaires, providing room discounts to would-be gamblers could prove well-timed. Not only does Golden Week commence on Oct. 1, but Trip.com’s announcement on the coupons arrived just a day after issuance of individual visit scheme (IVS) permits restarted across the mainland.
Guangdong province, the region closet to Macau, got that ball rolling last month. With the rest of China joining, analysts are cautiously optimistic the beleaguered gaming mecca can finally start shaking off the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in the fourth quarter.
Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Hangzhou, and Xiamen are forecast to be the top Chinese cities for departures to Macau into the end of 2020.
All About Q4
While there was some loosening of travel restrictions in the current quarter, Macau operators are still likely to produce gloomy results for the July through September period. That’s because Chinese tourism in general is still being hindered by the pandemic. Trip.com’s outlook confirms as much.
“As a result of the continued negative impact due to COVID-19 in the third quarter of 2020, the Company expects net revenue to decrease by approximately 47%-52% year-over-year for the third quarter of 2020,” said the internet travel firm in a statement.
For the June quarter, Trip.com said packaged tour revenue slid 88 percent, while corporate travel turnover was lower by 47 percent. Those numbers aren’t specific to Macau, but the figures underscore the long road to recovery the casino destination faces following the COVID-19 pandemic.
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