International edition
June 21, 2021

As middle class tourism expands

Macau enjoys massive growth

(Macau).- Macau had another fantastic year in 2013 taking in USD 45 billion, 18.6% more than the year before. However, while in the past much of the growth has been thanks to mega-rich Chinese gamblers, last year’s growth was due to the Chinese middle class and their new access to Macau.

A

nd despite the fact that Las Vegas’ improvements from the year before were actually a bit higher than this, percentage-wise, Macau continues to beat out the American gambling mecca by a seven-times-greater input annually.

Thanks to an influx of middle class Chinese visiting the gambling hotspot last year, the region enjoyed 18.6% growth. The mass market Chinese tourists to Macau will generally spend anywhere from a couple of thousand up to one million Yuan. However, even these small amounts have produced a massive increase in revenues. Furthermore, with just 4% of mainland China having visited Macau, there is still plenty of potential for further growth.

Growth slowdown predicted

However, analysts are expecting growth to slow in 2014 and drop closer to 10% to 14%. This is because there are no new casinos opening in the coming year and many casinos and hotels are already operating at capacity.

Nonetheless, even if growth does slow, it should only be temporary. Wynn Macau is creating a us$ 4 billion resort and the Las Vegas Sands is building a miniature Eiffel Tower which will host luxury retail outfits and a convention center.

Family entertainment

Casino bosses have taken note – they are investing heavily in lavish resorts, high-end shopping malls and elaborate stage shows as the region tries to reinvent itself. Just as it once turned itself from colonial backwater to den of organised crime, now Macau needs to become a family tourist destination, a playground for China's burgeoning upper middle class. And they seem to be succeeding: last year's us$ 45 billion takings were up nearly 19% from 2012.

"An accountant would say, looking at the balance sheets, that this thing is far from broken," said Glenn McCartney, a tourism expert at the University of Macau. "But when you go beyond the economics, you realise you shouldn't have all of your eggs in one basket."

Leading the transformation is the Venetian Macau, the world's largest casino (51,000 sq meters), housed in one of the world's largest buildings.

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