Unequal neighbours


Visitors from the MSAR to neighbouring Hong Kong saw an uptick in the month of January, with an 8.2 per cent increase in Macau ID holders entering the territory, year-on-year. Total local visitors to the neighbouring city amounted to 83,192, according to the most recent data from the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong.
The number is a 22.2 per cent uptick from five years ago, the earliest monthly data available, and shows the first uptick in January arrivals from the MSAR year-on-year since the 4.3 per cent year-on-year downturn in the month in 2016, when values hit their lowest since 2013.
However, on a month-on-month comparison the values show a 27.8 per cent decrease in MSAR ID holders to the territory, although, given the holidays in the month, a significant fall in numbers is recurring during the period.
December last year saw a historical high in visitation by MSAR residents to the city, as numbers hit 115,218 in total during the month, the highest on record in month-by-month breakdowns. This is also a 5.8 per cent increase year-on-year for the month, and a 17.2 per cent increase from 2011, the most recent available breakdown.
However, the January numbers show that Macau visitors to Hong Kong represented just 1.52 per cent of the total visitors to the HKSAR during the month, which hit 5.47 million, a 4.8 per cent year-on-year increase in total visitation to the city.
The driving visitation force continued to be the Mainland, whose visitors made up 79.5 per cent of visitors to the city in January, at 4.35 million, the highest visitation seen since July of 2015, according to the data.
Visitors to the MSAR from Hong Kong, however, posted a 17.6 per cent year-on-year uptick in their numbers in January, according to data from the local Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC) hitting 527,218 in total. The number of MSAR residents travelling to Hong Kong in January therefore equated to about 15.8 per cent of the reverse visitation. The visitation from HKSAR residents to the MSAR in January also equalled roughly half of the yearly visitation from MSAR residents to Hong Kong – in 2016, total visitation was 994,822 residents.