Macao’s Q1 GDP up 38.8%, lifted by resumption of group tours from Chinese mainland
Published: May 25, 2023 09:49 PM

Tourists watch a performance at the Ruins of St. Paul's in south China's Macao on Jan. 22, 2023.(Photo: Xinhua)

Tourists watch a performance at the Ruins of St. Paul's in south China's Macao on Jan. 22, 2023.(Photo: Xinhua)

Macao's GDP rose by 38.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023, recovering to 66.4 percent of the 2019 level, data from the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) of the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region showed on Thursday.

The economic performance was supported by positive factors such as the optimization of the COVID-19 policy, the full resumption of group tours from the Chinese mainland and people-to-people exchanges between Macao and Hong Kong, according to the DSEC.

The number of visitor arrivals in the first quarter surged by 163.7 percent year-on-year to 4.95 million, corresponding to 48.4 percent of the figure in the same quarter of 2019. This boosted exports of gaming services, which soared 100 percent, and exports of other tourism services, up by 72.9 percent.

Total services exports were up by 71.5 percent year-on-year and imports of services rose 24.0 percent.

Macao has a very developed services industry represented by tourism and leisure, which is attractive to global travelers. Tourism accounts for a high proportion of Macao's services industry, and it is sensitive to the outbound tourism policy, Xu Xiaolei, a marketing manager from China's CYTS Tours Holding Co, told the Global Times on Thursday.

On February 3, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council announced that it had scrapped quota limitations on personnel exchanges between the mainland and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions (SARs), and allowed group tours starting from February 6 to fully resume personnel exchanges.

The resumption will play a big role in the recovery of Macao's tourism and its economic vitality, and give a strong boost to its economic recovery, said Lei Wai Nong, secretary for economy and finance of the Macao SAR, according to media reports.

On March 23, the Macao Government Tourism Office said that with the full resumption of travel between the Chinese mainland and the SAR, the number of visitors to Macao in January and February was close to 3 million. In March, travel maintained good momentum, with 96,000 visitors to Macao on March 18, the highest single-day arrival since the pandemic.

In April, the SAR's tourism office held a major tourism promotion event in Portugal, the first time after the epidemic that Macao held an on-site tourism promotion program in Europe, to showcase the new elements of Macao tourism, in a bid to expand the international source market and promote the recovery of local tourism.

Data released by the Macao Public Security Police Force showed that during the May Day holidays, the region received 2.652 million people, with more than 491,900 inbound tourists.

"With the policies to improve outbound tourism rolled out, Macao's tourism sector will maintain a rapid growth recovery trend, which will further lift the local economy. We have high confidence in the development of tourism in Macao," Xu noted.

"Our tours between Hong Kong and Macao are very popular among Chinese mainland residents. After the facilitation of customs clearance, Macao tourism recovery is at the forefront of the recovery of overseas tours," Xu noted.
Global Times