Over 110,000 arrivals on June 29-30

Macau tourism unaffected by end of free casino food, official says

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The cessation of free food offerings at Macau's casinos has not affected tourist numbers, according to a senior official of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).

Ricky Hoi, deputy director of the MGTO, stated that the bureau has not observed "a drop in the number of tourists" following the end of the practice, which was intended to aid local restaurants struggling with rising costs and declining customers. Hoi made these remarks during the Asia Pacific Tourism Association conference at the Galaxy International Convention Centre in Cotai.

The decision to stop providing free food in casinos was made last month after complaints from local restaurateurs that tourists were taking advantage of these freebies, thereby spending less in local dining establishments. Cost-conscious visitors, particularly day-trippers from the Chinese mainland, were known to use free casino shuttle buses and consume complimentary food without significantly contributing to the local economy beyond their gambling expenditures.

Despite concerns, Hoi emphasized that tourists are increasingly exploring paid dining options near the casinos, indicating that the change has redirected spending toward local businesses. "We didn't notice a drop in the number of tourists," Hoi reiterated, highlighting that Macau's appeal extends beyond free casino perks.

Hoi also noted last Thursday that Macau's overall tourism numbers remained stable, with over 120,000 tourists arriving on Saturday (June 29) and more than 110,000 on Sunday (June 30), suggesting that the new policy has not deterred visitors. He attributed Macau's continued tourism success to its diverse attractions, culture, and entertainment offerings, which remain the primary draw for many visitors.

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