This year’s Macau International Dragon Boat Races, which ended yesterday, attracted some 28,000 spectators, an increase of 2,000 when compared to a year ago.
Vice-president of the Sports Bureau (ID) Lam Lin Kio commented that the good weather had led to a full house for the event.
When asked whether more seats will be added for spectators for future editions, Lam said it would depends if space was available at the Nam Van Lake Nautical Centre.
“As you can see, we’ve tried to make full use of the Nam Van Lake Nautical Centre,” he said. “But we will keep improving the hardware and facilities to allow [more] spectators to enjoy the event”
The International Dragon Boat Race is organised by the ID, together with the Macau China Dragon Boat Association (MCDBA).
The event was also sponsored by the six gaming operators plus companies such as Sun Kian Ip Holding Company Limited, the developer of luxury residential property Windsor Arch.
Peter Tang Tak Seng, executive committee member of the MCDBA, said that the venue of the race is small but allows for more centralised management, saying: “A small [venue] doesn’t mean things will be messy, as long as it is managed well”.
Increased number of overseas teams
Meanwhile, according to Tang, this year’s race attracted up to seven more overseas teams. After being absent for seven years, the Singaporean team returned to the races in Macau, finding a more diverse selection than previous years.
“A couple of years back [we had] a lot of commitments [and didn’t come] but this year [the race in Macau] is an opportunity for us,” said one of the paddlers from the Singaporean team, adding that the race in Macau is an important race for them.
Meanwhile, competitors from the Hong Kong team said the overall performance of the teams had improved when compared to past races.
For the venue itself, the Hong Kong team remarked that the event has diversified its offerings, with booths selling food and beverages as well as local creative and cultural products.
A team from Texas, in the United States, commented that the races were more organised than others they had participated in, adding that “races [in Macau] are on time”.
Several of the overseas teams told Business Daily that they were invited to the event by the MCDBA, and that the Association had organised and paid for the accommodation of the teams, many of whom stayed at the Golden Dragon Hotel. Teams were only required to pay for flights or ferry. Many of the overseas teams arrived in Macau on Monday and will depart today.
In order to attract more residents to enjoy the races, the ID organised cultural displays including dancing, music, magic shows and acrobatics as well as Dragon Boat exhibitions, food stalls and booths selling cultural and creative products.
One of the food stall purveyors disclosed that business had improved at this year’s Dragon Boat Festival, citing the good weather. Business Daily also talked to several spectators, discovering that the majority were local residents.
Tang, an executive member of the MCDBA, said that the Dragon Boat Races have yet to be appealing enough to attract more tourists to the event, unlike events such as the Macau Grand Prix.
“I don’t think the event would attract tourists to deliberately come and watch,” said Tang, adding that the Dragon Boat Festival is a short holiday in Mainland China.