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Macau Holds Fourth Position in Tourist Spending Among Cities

Despite facing travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, Macau secured the fourth spot among global cities in terms of tourist spending in 2022.

Macau Holds Fourth Position in Tourist Spending Among Cities

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reported that visitors to this Chinese territory, the only place in China where gambling is legal, spent a total of $15.58 billion last year. This figure encompasses a wider range of expenditures beyond just the closely monitored gross gaming revenue (GGR). If not for the limitations on accessibility, Macau's tourist spending would likely have been even higher.

To support its struggling economy and respond to international pressure, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ended punitive COVID-19 protocols early this year, allowing Macau casinos to welcome larger numbers of visitors. This decision is proving fruitful, with analysts forecasting that certain Macau casinos are well-positioned to generate revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) this year, reaching or even surpassing the levels seen in 2019.

While Dubai, Doha, and London ranked ahead of Macau in the WTTC's 2022 city tourist spending rankings, these cities are not typically associated with casino destinations. However, their substantial tourist spending amounts are worth considering. Dubai and Doha witnessed a combined tourist expenditure of over $46 billion last year, with Dubai accounting for $29.42 billion of that figure. These figures have relevance for Wynn Resorts, as the company is developing the first integrated resort in the Arab world on Al Marjan Island, located approximately an hour away from Dubai. Dubai's longstanding reputation as a top Middle Eastern tourist destination, known for attracting visitors who spend generously, underpins the optimism surrounding the Wynn UAE project, scheduled to open in early 2027.

Doha, situated just a 70-minute flight from Dubai, also presents potential gaming implications. Once Wynn Al Marjan Island is operational, residents and visitors in Doha will be within approximately three hours of the venue, making it a feasible destination for them.

The WTTC list further includes Istanbul, Barcelona, New York, Singapore, and Paris, following Macau in terms of tourist spending. While these cities may not be synonymous with prominent gambling hubs, they offer their own intriguing prospects. Singapore, for instance, is home to two integrated resorts, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, which significantly contribute to the city-state's business and leisure travel industries. Similarly, New York has long been a highly visited city, attracting both domestic and international tourists who spend substantial amounts of money. The recent awarding of three downstate gaming permits in the state, allowing for the development of Las Vegas-style casino hotels, is expected to bolster tourist spending in the future. However, it will take several years for these venues to open, resulting in a delay before New York's tourist spending figures experience a gaming-driven upswing.



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