Players cancel Chinese New Year travel plans to Macau as visitation to the region slows amidst COVID-19 pandemic

The Chinese New Year is usually a busy time in Macau. Players travel from around the world to take part in the celebration, enjoying dining, entertainment, and of course, gambling. This year though, the celebrations will be more subdued because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A surge across mainland China has led to players canceling plans to travel to the city as well as lower visitor rates in general.

Visitation Numbers

This week, analysts provided details on the number of visitors to Macau within the past week. There was a major slowdown in player activity which led to a drop in daily gross gaming revenues. For the first 17 days in January, operators earned MOP$276 million. However, from January 18-24, only MOP$171 million was earned.

The drop in visitors can be attributed to the restrictions surrounding the coronavirus. Just recently, Macau placed new quarantine requirements on visitors from certain parts of China including provinces and six cities.

According to Sanford C Bernstein analysts, China has started larger scale lockdowns and is urging people to reduce travel. This has led to a reduced visitation total for Macau. Unfortunately, it occurs during the Chinese New Year when the region would normally be bustling with guests.

Canceling Plans

Analysts from Credit Suisse, say that multiple cancellations are expected from the VIP junket sector and premium mass. Some will cancel due to being unable to obtain visas to travel or they do not want to face the quarantine requirements when they get back to China from Macau.

Players are canceling via junkets and it is expected that the VIP player total could be less than what was seen during the New Year’s Eve holiday. The mass casino floor has been pretty quiet for a few days and it is believed that people are not traveling due to provincial governments urging residents to avoid traveling during the Chinese New Year.