In Macau and fears over the highly-contagious coronavirus strain reportedly helped to push the average January occupancy rate for the city’s many three to five-star hotels down by some 14.5% year-on-year to only 78.5%.

According to GGRAsia citing official data from the Macao Government Tourism Office, last month’s figure for exclusively five-star properties, which are usually exploited by those visiting one of the enclave’s numerous casino resorts, dropped by 10.3% year-on-year to stand at just 85%.

Interim interruption:

Macau reportedly shuttered all of its 39 active casinos for a 15-day period on February 5 in order to help fight the spread of the deadly viral condition that has so far killed approximately 2,700 people in neighboring China. Although these venues were allowed to begin re-opening from last Thursday, many are still closed while others have only re-emerged featuring reduced services.

Particularly problematic:

GGRAsia reported that even before this temporary shutdown, the seven days from January 24 had seen the Macao Government Tourism Office record a 78.3% decline year-on-year in aggregate tourist numbers. This period is usually one of the former Portuguese enclave’s most profitable as visitors from around the world flock to its many attractions in order to celebrate Chinese New Year.

The Director for the Macao Government Tourism Office, Maria Helena De Senna Fernandes, reportedly used information provided by the Macau Hotel Association in detailing that the average five-star hotel occupancy rate for the final week of last month had fallen by 42.3% to stand at just 55.3%.

Recent ruination:

To make matters worse, Fernandes explained that continuing anxieties over the spread of the coronavirus strain, which is officially known as 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), had pushed average hotel occupancy rates for the week to last Friday down to only 11.6% with mean room prices plummeting to around $86. She purportedly furthermore explained that the current situation is worse than Macau experienced during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003 with average five-star hotel occupancy rates now at ‘single-digit’ levels.

Fernades reportedly proclaimed…

“We saw a huge blow to both inbound and outbound tourism. Now our average hotel occupancy is at around 11% That is worse than the SARS outbreak period. It is the worst time I have seen since I’ve entered the tourism industry.”

Forecast nonstarter:

Finally, GGRAsia reported that Fernandes was unwilling to offer a prediction on how the city’s finishing annual tourism figures might be impacted by the coronavirus scare because there were still ‘uncertainties’ over how quickly the threat would be neutralized.

Fernades added…

“The Macao Government Tourism Office is now working on recovery plans for the tourism sector. As of this week we will be contacting hotels and travel agencies to understand their thoughts and see what we can do for our future.”