Tourism Development and Perceived Quality of Life among LOCAL RESIDENTS in Macau

Authors: Choe, J. and O' Regan, M.

Start date: 22 April 2015

Place of Publication: Innsbruck, Austria

Macau's emergence as a tourism destination, owing much to its geographic location, history and culture as well as activities such as gambling has long supported economic growth and development in this special administrative region of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Whilst Macau successfully became a gaming mecca prior to the handover from Portugal to China in 1999, the liberalization of the casino industry in 2002 accelerated growth in nearly every facet of society. In 1999, Macau's population had around 430,000 residents, which has increased to 631,000 in 2014, with non-resident workers accounting for 40 percent of the working population. The average income per capita increased from below MOP5,000 in 1999 to MOP13,000 in 2014. The unemployment rate decreased significantly, from 6.8 percent in 2000 to 1.7 percent in 2014. Gross Domestic Product (GOP) registered an average growth rate 12 percent between 2000 and 2013, with Macau's per capita wealth now standing fourth in the world. Accompanying these economic changes is inflation and an increase in the cost of housing. The average price per square meter has gone up tenfold since the handover, surpassing the MOPI 00,000 mark for the first time in 2014. Tourist arrivals, which were 11.9 million visitors in 2003 grew to 29 million visitors in 2013; with mainland visitors accounting for 70% of total arrivals. In a territory of less than 30 square kilometers, there are about twice the number of vehicles (237,500) than in 1999. Macau has more expensive cars per km of road; with official data in 2014 indicating that 523 Bentleys, 250 Rolls Royces, 158 Maseratis, 131 Ferraris and 106 Lamborghinis were using the its 450 km of public roads.

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