Macau visitation grows 11 percent in 2008

Macau’s tourism grew 11 percent in 2008 as more 30 million people visited the Chinese gaming enclave, according to figures released last week.

The increase came despite visa restrictions imposed by the Chinese government that curtailed the number of visits by mainland Chinese residents into the special administrative region. Macau is the only location in China where gaming is legal.

Joao Costa Antunes, director of the Macau Tourism Office, said almost 30.2 million people visited Macau, which included 17.5 million people from the Chinese mainland provinces, an increase of 17 percent. Mainland China accounted for 58 percent of the total number of visitors to Macau in 2008. In 2007, mainland China accounted for 55.1 percent of the total visits.

Visitation from Hong Kong decreased by 3 percent to 27.3 percent.

Macau currently has 57 casino-hotel and non-gaming hotels and 18,820 total hotel rooms. The Venetian Macau is the largest resort in the region with 3,000 hotel rooms.

Antunes expects Macau will increase its capacity by 4,000 hotel rooms over the next two years.

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