It's more expensive to visit Macau than Japan during the holiday

January 29, 2019 11:06
A man walks past a poster celebrating the upcoming Lunar New Year of the Pig at Ditan Park in Beijing on Monday. Photo: Reuters

This is the time of year when visiting Japan is less expensive than going to Macau. And I'm not talking yet about the money you will lose in the gambling hub's casinos.

During the coming Lunar New Year holiday, you can stay at Okura Tokyo for less than HK$3,000 a night, but you may need to cough up close to HK$5,000 if you stay in Macau.

The New Year premium shows how much Chinese love to go to Macau, where they believe, or at least hope, they can make some lucky money at the beginning of the lunar year. Never mind if gambling data anywhere in the world shows that the house always wins. It's hard to argue with tradition.

And thanks to the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, it is expected that visitors to Macau during the holiday will hit a record high.

According to forecasts by the Macau Tourism Office, the number of visitors will go up around 9 percent while occupancy rates of hotels will surge to over 95 percent.

This is simply the best season for Macau tourism as room rates during the Lunar New Year will go up 35 percent.

The average rate for a hotel room in the first week of the Year of the Pig will be around HK$4,000 per night, more than double the usual rate in January.

Most hotels charge an extra 10 to 35 percent. According to Apple Daily, The Venetian is charging a premium of as much as 35 percent during the season, while Melco Studio Hotel is actually offering a 16 percent discount, or a rate of only HK$2,475, on the first day of the Lunar New Year.

Most hotels are fully booked up to the third day (Thursday) or even the fifth day (Saturday) of Lunar New Year at peak rates.

The third day of the Lunar New Year is the peak day for non-family activities and generally considered a good day for gambling, which means that it will be a very busy horse racing day in Shatin as punters want a prosperous start to the year.

In Macau, 90 percent of the Chinese – both visitors and locals – swoop down on the casinos, where 90 percent of the gamblers prefer to play baccarat.  Unfortunately, 90 percent of them are expected to lose.

Well, we're not here to spoil the fun, so enjoy and have a merry, healthy and prosperous Year of the Pig!

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EJ Insight writer