In Macau and aggregate tourist numbers reportedly dropped by almost 50% year-on-year on Friday and Saturday amid growing apprehension surrounding the spread of the highly-infectious ‘Wuhan virus’ that has already killed 80 people in neighboring China.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the two-day period marked the start of week-long Chinese New Year celebrations that have historically heralded a very lucrative period for the city as tourists from across Asia flock to its many casinos.
However, official figures from the Macao Government Tourism Office reportedly showed that the former Portuguese enclave had welcomed only 112,936 foreign visitors over the course of the two-day period, which equated to a decline of 49.9% year-on-year.
Inside Asian Gaming reported that some 55,098 foreign tourists had entered Macau on Friday, which represented a decrease of 34.6% year-on-year, while the figure for Saturday had been 59% lower at 57,838. The official data purportedly also showed that arrivals from mainland China over the course of the two days had plummeted by 55% to 66,102 with the comparable Saturday figure being 64.7% lower at 33,159.
The data from the Macao Government Tourism Office reportedly indicated that 41,733 foreign visitors had entered Macau on Friday and Saturday via its land border with China while a further 18,189 had utilized the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. The information moreover showed that the two days had seen only 17,717 people travel to city via airplane.
It was also reported that the release of the tourist numbers accompanied news that Macau has now recorded six confirmed cases of the ‘Wuhan virus,’ which is a coronavirus strain that first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan in early-December. It additionally detailed that at least three of these victims are thought to have visited casino resorts located in the city’s Cotai Strip district including the giant The Venetian Macao and Galaxy Macau properties.
The Chief Executive for Macau, Ho Iat Seng, reportedly visited the city’s Conde S Januario Hospital over the weekend so as to check on these sufferers and learn more about the ‘Wuhan virus.’ The official furthermore purportedly explained that the enclave is to now prevent anyone who has travelled from Wuhan within the past two weeks from entering its casinos although he was said to have been vague on the particulars of any associated enforcement measures.