Macau's Tourism Industry

A former overseas territory of Portugal since the 16th century and renowned for its gambling industry, Macau is situated along the southeast coast of China. The Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China has a population of approximately 582,000, according to the Macau Government Tourist Office. Tourism is one of the region's most important industries. Macau's blend of Portuguese and Chinese cultures, as well as its world class gaming offer unique experiences for visitors from Asia and elsewhere in the world.

Information and Facts about Macau's Tourism Industry

Macau's tourism industry is a major segment of the region's economy. With a wide range of hotels and resorts, Macau features a world class tourism industry and is a leading destination in Asia. In 2012, over 28 million tourists travelled to Macau. This represented a growth of 0.3 percent from 2011, according to Macau's Statistics and Census Service. China is the main source of visitors to Macau, with 60.2 percent of all visitors in 2012 originating from the mainland. Since returning to Chinese control in 1999, the territory has been the focus of government efforts to develop it as a tourist destination for mainland Chinese markets. Other top markets for the territory include Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

The average length of stay for visitors to Macau in 2012 is one day, according to the Statistics and Census Service. Same-day visitors to Macau accounted for 51.7 percent of all tourists in 2012, or over 14.5 million. Tourists with overnight stays in Macau totalled 13.6 million in 2012, or 48.3 percent of all tourists to the territory. Overnight travellers stayed approximately two nights during their visit. The number of hotel establishments in Macau totalled 102 with 26,719 rooms in 2012. The number of restaurants in the territory totalled 353 in 2012, while there were 158 bars.

In addition to flights to Asia and beyond to Macau International Airport, regular ferries connect the territory with Hong Kong and mainland China. Macau's airport is emerging as a significant hub for discount airlines in Asia. Although well connected by sea and air, most visitors travel to Macau by land via two bridges linking the territory with the mainland. In 2012, approximately 14.8 million tourists travelled to Macau by land, while over 1.7 million arrived by air and over 11.4 million travelled by sea.

Major Attractions and Destinations

Gaming is a major draw for travellers to Macau, which emerged as a gambling destination during the Portuguese colonial period. Several major Las Vegas casinos have established resorts in Macau, which has overtaken the American city as the world's top gambling destination in terms of revenue. The territory features world-class gambling establishments, including Casino Lisboa Macau, Sands Macau, MGM Macau, The Venetian Macao, and Wynn Macau. Most casinos line the waterfront, with major resorts found along the southern end of the Macau Peninsula. The Macau Peninsula is also the location of the region's main ferry terminal and the Macau Tower, a 338.8-metre tower with a revolving restaurant and several adventure activities.

In addition to gambling, Macau attracts tourists interested in seeing colonial sights and experiencing the region's culture. The territory is home to stunning UNESCO World Heritage sites and architectural wonders. Major attractions include the Ruins of St. Paul's. The ruins date from the 16th century and include the Cathedral of St. Paul, at one time one of the largest Catholic churches in Asia. The iconic ruins are situated within the historic centre of Macau, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. The historic centre includes over 20 sites that represented the unique blend of Portuguese and Chinese cultures. Other major attractions within the historic centre include the elegant Senado Square and famous A-Ma Temple, a Taoist temple built in 1488. Taipa and Coloane are two traditional fishing villages south of the Macau Peninsula with colonial-era shops and narrow lanes that also attract large numbers of visitors.