The latest data from the Macau Special Administrative Region's Statistics and Census Bureau show that Macau's GDP in the first quarter of this year has increased, reaching its fourth level since 2021. This is due to positive factors such as the relaxation of anti-epidemic measures on entry, the full resumption of personal exchanges between Hong Kong and Macau, and the resumption of group tours from the mainland to Macau. Compared to 2019, Macau's economy has recovered, reaching 66.4% in the same period.
Major expenditure items contribute to economic growth. The export of services is an important driver of Macau's economic growth. Statistics show that in the first quarter of this year, Macau's gaming and tourism services exports increased by 100.0% and 72.9%, respectively. Total service exports increased by 71.5%, contributing 47.8% to economic growth.
Tang Jizong, dean of the Macau Institute of Management, said in an interview with a Southern Finance and Economics reporter that Macau's service exports accounted for 79.2% of Macau's GDP in 2019. As an essential part of Macau's economy, service exports are critical to Macau's economic development.
Gaming and Tourism are Still Dominant
The tourism industry has also accelerated the retail sector's recovery. According to the consumption structure of tourists released by the Macau Statistics and Census Bureau, tourists visiting Macau in the first quarter were mainly focused on shopping, accounting for 57.6%.
The data also showed that Macau's gross gaming revenue in the first quarter of 2023 was 34.642 billion patacas, recovering to 45% of the same period in 2019.
At the same time, Macau's retail sales in the first quarter of this year also increased by 29.3% year-on-year to 24.00 billion patacas. Among them, the sales of Chinese food souvenirs jumped 2.3 times compared to the same period last year. The sales of watches and jewelry, leather goods, cosmetics, and hygiene products also recorded increases of 52.7%, 41.9%, and 37.1%, respectively.
Experts say that, in general, the export of services with the tourism and gaming industry as the main body currently occupies a dominant position in Macau's overall economic development. It plays an important role. Judging from the economic growth in the first quarter of this year, it is mainly due to the recovery and rapid growth of the tourism and gaming industries. But the situation is different if other social and economic sectors' development is analyzed. Other sectors of Macau's economy, especially the real trade sector, have declined.