Macao recorded 18.7 million visitor arrivals in 2005, a year-on-year increase of 12 percent, an official said here on Wednesday.
Joao Manuel Costa Antunes, director of the Tourist Office, told a press conference that the number of the visitors came in the year from the Chinese mainland stood at 10.46 million, 56 percent of the total arrivals and a year-on-year rise of 9.9 percent.
The official dues the hike of the visitor arrivals to the entry of Macao's Historic Center on the World Heritage List, which promotes the city's image as a cultural tourism destination.
Antunes said the booming of the tourism industry should also credit to the Individual Travel Scheme introduced by the mainland authorities in July, 2003.
Macao has since logged over 9 million visitor arrivals from the Chinese mainland under the solo travel scheme, said the official.
He said Macao's tourism authorities will keep its efforts in stabilizing the major markets in China's Hong Kong, China's Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, the United States and Canada.
The tourism authorities will also help enhance the quality of the services provided by local hotels, restaurants and other facilities.
(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2006)