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Macau Tourist Arrivals to Gain at Least 10%

Macau’s tourist arrivals will increase at least 10 percent this year from 2011’s 28 million, led by visitors from mainland China, said João Manuel Costa Antunes, director of the city government’s tourism office.

Tourist visits from Europe will gain more slowly than the average due to the continent’s economic woes, Antunes said in an interview in New York yesterday. Total arrivals gained 12% last year, according to the Chinese city’s statistics agency.

The growth forecast projects a faster increase than in March, when visits gained 7.3 percent on year to 2.35 million, with tourist numbers from China rising 15 percent to 1.44 million. April revenue from casinos in the city, the only place in China where they are legal, jumped by 22 percent to 25 billion patacas ($3.1 billion), according to the government.

Antunes said he expects the number of hotel rooms in the city to increase to about 50,000 in five years from 23,000 now, based on the number of projects in the pipeline he expects to be completed. He declined to comment on individual developments.

Macau needs the added rooms because its hotel occupancy rate averages about 85 percent and it can be difficult to find vacancies during the weekends, Antunes said.

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