he increase in tourist arrivals has slowed sharply since the middle of last year because of the credit crisis and tighter restrictions on visitors to Macau from the Chinese mainland. Macau is a major tourist destination as the only place in China where casino gambling is legal.
The tourist office said spending by tourists in Macau increased to us$ 13 billion in the January-September period from us$ 9.5 billion a year earlier. It didn’t give a figure for the full year.
Visitors from Greater China accounted for 89.7% of total tourist arrivals last year. Visitors from mainland China rose 17% in 2008, compared with 24% a year earlier. Tourist arrivals from Hong Kong rose 0.6%, compared with 17.8% in 2007. Tourist numbers from Taiwan fell by 8% after rising 0.4% a year earlier.
Hotel occupancy rates fell by 4.2% as more hotels competed for market share, the tourist office said. Four more hotels housing an additional 4,400 rooms are expected to open in the coming one to two years, it said.