Pushing boundaries

The city of Macau never sleeps, especially in terms of constantly innovating and enhancing offerings for inbound visitors

Macau is looking to further enhance its international image as a tourist destination through high-profile events and activities.

Some of these include the Macao International Travel (Industry) Expo in late June and the Global Tourism Economy Forum in September. While these will no doubt attract business leaders, a whole set of fun events is also ready to charm fun seekers. The Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) has also lined up Art Macao: Macao International Art Biennale; the Macao International Fireworks Display Contest which returns this September and October for its 31st edition after a hiatus of three years due to the pandemic; the Macau Grand Prix, which celebrates its 70th edition in November; and Light Up Macao at the end of the year.

South Korean boy band Super Junior performs at Galaxy Macau

According to MGTO, high-profile concerts, along with spike in non-gaming entertainment hosted by the six integrated resorts (IR) and leisure enterprises, will continue to provide visitors with new impetus to take a vacation in Macau. These non-gaming investment commitments are a requirement that comes with the gaming concession contracts announced in December, all to support the government’s objectives in promoting Macau’s economic and industrial diversification.

In line with this, Sands China has defined its vision and strategy for the next decade. It has set aside 30.2 billion patacas (US$3.7 million) worth of financial commitment through 2032, with 27.8 billion patacas going to non-gaming projects.

President and executive director of Sands China, Wilfred Wong, said at the recent Asian IR Summit: “As IR operators, it is crucial that we continually push boundaries and enhance guest experiences through innovation. We must evolve and reinvent ourselves to stay ahead of the curve and set the benchmark for best-in-class IR offerings.”

Sands China’s focus will include investments in Macau’s dining scene, with an additional 10 outlets set to open. Coming right up is The Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill and The Mews, which will open later this year.

Over at Studio City, phase two developments have launched. Macau’s all-new, all-weather 10,000m2 water park is welcoming guests now, while what is said to be Asia’s first-ever residency concert series is currently underway at Studio City Event Center. The latter kicked off with Hong Kong superstar Joey Yung concerts in April.
Even more will emerge across Macau.

Event specialist, smallWORLD Experience, which has pivoted its focus to the local market following the Covid disruption, is now doing brisk business with entertainment concerts.

Rua de Nossa Senhora do Amparo

Its executive director and partner, Bruno Simões, said: “Large concerts playing at The Venetian Macao and Galaxy Arena (part of Galaxy Macau) have a crucial role in Macau’s destination marketing. They elevate Macau’s status as a destination. This is particularly true in the Greater Bay Area, where most of Macau’s visitors come from. These events not only enhance visitor experiences, but they also ignite retail and casino businesses.”

Simões told TTG Asia that his company was supposed to produce 45 concerts in 10 months in the destination, following a successful bid with the Cultural Affairs Bureau.

“But, because of the pandemic, we ended up doing 25 different concerts and 75 different performances from November 2022 to April 2023,” he said, adding that the events were successful in drawing visitors to Taipa Houses, as well as highlighting the local music scene, fostering local talent, and stimulating local economy.

With community tourism as one of the drawcards, MGTO has approved subsidies for 42 special projects slated to kick off between April and December this year.

These projects encompass themes of enhancing community-based tourism, celebrating gastronomic culture, and promoting maritime tourism. They aim to consolidate the unique characteristics of different districts, incorporate fresh tourist attractions in Macau, and introduce a diverse range of tourism products and experiences by merging various tourism elements.

MGTO has also made it a requirement for event organisers to work with local SMEs.

Ultimately, these efforts will revitalise the community economy.

In terms of access, Macau is seeing improving air services with key international visitor source markets, such as South Korea, Japan and Thailand.

Tiger Air resumed services from Taipei and Kaohsiung from July 1, while Air Macau boosted its services from Singapore from four a week to seven since July 12.

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