Macau Pays the Price for Hong Kong Protests

  • Gambling figures in Macau lower than expected
  • Visitor numbers also experiencing a slump
  • Bosses believe it is due to ongoing protests in Hong Kong
macau cityscape at night
Macau struggles to attract visitors with Hong Kong riots ongoing.

Continuing protests upset visitor numbers

Protests in Hong Kong are not showing any sign of slowing down, and the financial impact they are having on the area is highlighted in neighboring Macau, which employs an industry through gambling tourism.

Visitors have started to avoid the area, and access to the territory has been made more difficult due to the airport closures in Hong Kong. Visitors usually arrive there and make the journey on to Macau by road across the land bridge or by ferry.

Instead, tourism numbers show that travelers are showing concern about their safety in the area. Images of protesters clashing with the police have regularly been shown on news channels around the world.

Casino executives are concerned

Matt Maddox, chief executive of Wynn Resorts, has spoken about the ongoing protests. He said:

When you have hundreds of flights canceled out of Hong Kong and some reluctance to travel, I do think that’s impacting the premium end of the business.”

Wynn Resorts run two casinos in Macau. The region is located just 30 minutes away from Hong Kong’s international airport by car, and its close proximity to the center of the protests is likely putting some gamers off from making the trip.

Lui Che-woo, head of Galaxy Entertainment, has urged for talks to rebuild a harmonious Hong Kong due to the impact the unrest is having on visitor numbers in Macau.

Analysts have predicted a further fall in revenue over the next few weeks as protests continue in Hong Kong. This comes after news that gaming revenues fell by 3.5% in July, a fall that was much greater than had been expected. This time of year is typically busy in Macau, so the impact the tensions have on revenue could be significant.

The government is monitoring the situation

Macau’s Government Tourism Office has told Reuters that it is closely monitoring the situation and has urged those working in the tourism sector to report any changes to trips.

The protests were sparked in early June by a proposed law which would have allowed extradition to mainland China.

The government is encouraging visitors to change around their itinerary to visit Macau before Hong Kong in the hope that by the time they finish that leg of their trip the situation in Hong Kong will be calmer.

This, however, does not help with the visitors who were planning to visit Macau after landing at Hong Kong due to the current intermittent closures of the airport.

The protests were sparked in early June by a proposed law which would have allowed extradition to mainland China. The bill has been suspended, but protestors are still demanding action. Riots have seen Hong Kong airport shut for two nights in a row over the last week.

A worker at one of the ferry services between Macau and Hong Kong said, “We are worried about the social problems in Hong Kong, both the customers and us (sic) hope it can end soon.”