Hundreds of thousands of people from mainland China went to Macau, the biggest gambling center in the world, for the Labor Day holiday. They crowded into its narrow cobblestone streets and bet in its flashy casinos.
China and its special administrative region Macau lifted strict COVID-19 limits in January, letting people flood into Macau for the first time in more than three years. This caused a surge in visitors.
Statistics from the government showed that more than 100,000 people came to the former Portuguese city each day on Saturday and Sunday, up from 60,000 a day in the days before.
On the pastel-colored streets near Senado Square and the Ruins of St. Paul’s, hundreds of tourists crowded together to take pictures and try Macanese specialties like egg rolls and dried meat.
From April 17 to May 7, 2019, the most popular place for Chinese tourists to go in Asia is Macau, according to travel data company ForwardKeys. Bookings are up 11% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019, while they are down 32% in nearby Hong Kong.
Coco Li, a 42-year-old woman from Hubei province who was visiting with her husband, said that they decided to come to Macau because travel rules had changed.
Li said that she wanted to buy cosmetics, handbags, and clothes and that she would “definitely go to the casino and gamble for fun, as we still need to control ourselves.”
Over the past year, Macau’s government has promoted its cultural history, food, and entertainment to people on the mainland.
The government of Macau gets more than 80% of its money from casinos, so the government wants to find other ways to make money. To do this, they have given the six casinos in Macau strict new rules to follow.
The tweet below confirms the news:
Chinese tourists flock to gambling hub Macau for Labour Day holiday https://t.co/r2DLnuaRox pic.twitter.com/Z3DpcRgcNi
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 30, 2023
The rush of visitors comes at a time when the heavily populated territory is having a hard time finding enough people to work.
Analysts in the hotel business say that during the holidays, about 90% of hotels will be full, and some will be completely booked.
Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. said that the Raffles Hotel would open in the second half of 2023, which is later than what was planned before.
The company said, “We have been working with the Macau government on our needs for workers.” “We have enough people working at our existing resorts to cover the May holiday,” they said.
Sands China Ltd said that a lack of workers had cut down on the number of rooms available in the first quarter, but that things had gotten better in March.
“The company thinks that will get better in the next three months, so the outlook is good right now,” it said.
In the meantime, some travelers have had a hard time finding a place to stay.
A 40-year-old man from Shanxi province called Wang, who used to visit Macau often before the pandemic, was shocked by how many people were there.
He said, “I couldn’t even book a room, so I’ll just have to see if the casino will give me a room for free.”
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