Macao ended last year with nearly 31 million visitor arrivals (which included over 20 million from mainland China), an increase of 0.8% vs. 2015. Outpacing those overall gains were visitors from the U.S., which numbered just under 191,000 last year, an increase of about 4.6%.
In the first quarter of this year, the destination saw a 5.6% increase year over year and a 3.1% increase in U.S. visitors.
The following are some of the recent and upcoming developments in Macao designed to accommodate and entertain these visitors.
A rendering of the 1,400-room MGM Cotai.
• Originally eyed for a 2016 opening, the MGM Cotai is now scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of this year in Macao's Cotai tourism district.
Comprising about 1,400 rooms and suites, the property will house the first international iteration of MGM's Mansion (an Italian villa-inspired concept for high-rollers) and a 2,000-seat Spectacle theater for performances.
In March, MGM Cotai unveiled its lion statue, which stands next to the resort's north entrance. The 36-foot-tall statue weighs 38 tons and is the first MGM lion to be gilded in 24-karat gold, accomplished with the use of about 32,000 sheets of gold foil, according to an MGM press release.
• Also planned for Cotai and poised to add about 2,000 rooms to Macao's inventory is the Grand Lisboa Palace complex, scheduled to open early next year.
The Grand Lisboa Palace will actually encompass three hotels. The Palazzo Versace Macau, with its approximately 270 rooms, will be the first Palazzo Versace in Asia, and will benefit from the creative direction of its namesake, famed designer Donatella Versace.
Another iconic fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld, has long been involved in hotel design: At Monaco's Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo, he redesigned the pool area and put his design stamp on Joel Robuchon's Odyssey restaurant.
But for the first time he will lend his name to an entire property, the Grand Lisboa Palace's Karl Lagerfeld Hotel, which will also house about 270 rooms.
Finally, the flagship Lisboa Palace will house about 1,450 rooms. The overall design of the complex, according to a press release, will be "inspired by grand European architecture, and [incorporate] both traditional Chinese motifs and elements of Chinoiserie," the Chinese-influenced aesthetic with roots in 17th century Europe.
The Michael Jackson tribute show “Thriller Live” at the Parisian Macao.
• Meanwhile, changes are underway at the Sands Resorts Macao, where the Parisian Macao opened last year, adding about 3,000 rooms to the Sands development's inventory for a total of about 13,000 rooms.
In April, the Parisian Macao brought back the "Thriller Live" stage show for a four-month engagement.
The Michael Jackson tribute show, which originated on London's West End, was the first production staged at the resort's Parisian Theater.
This year will see the debut of Le Jardin, an outdoor space opposite the Parisian Macao offering views of its Eiffel Tower attraction, a half-scale reproduction of the original.
Elsewhere at the Sands, ahead of the Venetian Macao's 10th anniversary, that property's suites will undergo a renovation later this year, and the Il Prato, an outdoor events space for up to 5,000 people, also will be unveiled.