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Macau sets highest hotel occupancy
The local hospitality industry was the busiest in the world last year as the occupancy rate reached a new record high. December was also the best-ever month for package tours.
According to data released by the Statistics and Census Services, the average occupancy rate at hotels and guesthouses stood at 89.7 percent in December, up by two points year-on-year and a new monthly record.
The Christmas and New Year period helped to ensure that 2011 was also the best-ever year for the MSAR hotel business, with an occupancy rate of 84.1 percent, up from 79.3 percent in the previous year.
This was the highest figure for any territory or city in the world last year, according to data compiled by hospitality research firm STR. Macau hotels overtook neighbouring Singapore (83.9 percent) and US gaming capital Las Vegas (83.8 percent) to get the first spot in the ranking for the first time ever.
This growth is even more impressive considering that the number of available rooms reached almost 22,400, with five-star hotels accounting for almost two-thirds (63.5 percent) of the total.
With more rooms, the industry received 820,000 guests in December, up by 12.7 percent year-on-year and a new monthly record. For the whole of 2011 over 8.6 million guests checked into local hotels – also a highest-ever number.
Almost 795,000 visitors arrived in the city as part of organized tours in December, up by 51.5 percent year-on-year. It easily eclipsed the short-lived record of 767,000 set in November.
The biggest reason for this increase was a 57.7 percent jump in tourists from mainland China, which accounted for more than two-thirds (72.3 percent) of the total. But the biggest increase was felt in package tours from Taiwan and Singapore, which more than doubled to 48,000 and 16,000 respectively.
On the contrary, Thailand was the only major market that sent fewer visitors to Macau, with a 14.3 percent year-on-year drop as the country continues its recovery from recent widespread floods.
The positive December figures helped boost 2011 as the best-ever year for local tourism agencies, which hosted 7.3 million visitors in organised tours, up by 27.2 percent from the previous year.
Locals are also travelling more but most prefer to do so on their own. In 2011 outbound residents on package tours decreased by 3.8 percent year-on-year to about 243,000.
On the other hand almost 649,000 (up by 29.7 percent) made their own travel arrangements. In both cases the most popular destination is mainland China.
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