Macau Tourism Spending Ranked Fourth In World In 2022


Posted on: May 31, 2023, 03:55h. 

Last updated on: May 31, 2023, 05:16h.

Even with the headwinds of coronavirus travel restrictions, Macau ranked fourth among global cities in 2022 in terms of money spent by tourists.

Macau tourist spending
Tourists walk in front of Casino Lisboa in Macau. Just three cities saw higher tourism spending in 2022 than Macau. (Image: New York Times)

In 2022, visitors to the special administrative region (SAR), the lone Chinese territory where gaming is permitted, spent $15.58 billion, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). That figure encompasses more than the closely watched gross gaming revenue (GGR) numbers and likely would have been higher had Macau been more accessible last year.

Under pressure from the global community, and in an effort to support its sagging economy, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ended punitive COVID-19 protocols early this year, allowing Macau casinos to welcome larger numbers of visitors.

The move is paying off as analysts are forecasting some Macau casinos are positioned to generate revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) this year on par with or in excess of 2019 levels.

Casino Cities Not Prominent on WTTC List

Dubai, Doha, and London ranked ahead of Macau on the WTTC 2022 city tourist spending rankings. None of those metropolitan areas can be considered casino destinations.

However, there are potential longer-ranging gaming implications, particularly with Dubai and the Qatari capital of Doha. Those two cities saw more than $46 billion in combined tourist spending last year with Dubai commanding $29.42 billion of that figure, according to the WTTC. That could prove pertinent to Wynn Resorts, which is developing the Arab world’s first integrated resort on Al Marjan Island, located about an hour away from Dubai.

Dubai’s long-running reputation as the Middle East’s prime tourist destination, and one where international visitors clearly spend freely, is one of the bullish catalysts underpinning the Wynn UAE project, which is scheduled to open in early 2027.

Doha is a 70-minute flight from Dubai, meaning residents and visitors to that city could get to Wynn Al Marjan Island in roughly three hours when the venue opens.

Other Gaming Implications from WTTC List

Istanbul, Barcelona, New York, Singapore, and Paris followed Macau, rounding out the top 10 on the 2022 WTTC list.

As is the case with Dubai, Doha, and London, those aren’t considered prime gaming destinations. However, there are some implications to consider. Singapore is home to two integrated resorts, the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, and those venues are major contributor’s the city-state’s business and leisure travel industries.

New York has long been one of the most visited cities in the US, and one where domestic and international tourists spend large amounts of money.

That proposition could be enhanced after the state awards three downstate gaming permits, which will allow for the development of Las Vegas-style casino hotels. The downside in terms of economic perks is that it will be several years before those venues open, meaning it will be some time before New York’s tourist spending numbers see a gaming-driven uptick.



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