Gaming and UNESCO sites trump Hong Kong and Singapore

The emphasis on the casino gaming industry and UNESCO World Heritage site status allow Macau to differentiate itself from Hong Kong and Singapore. This is the opinion of Anna Leask, Professor of Tourism Management at Edinburgh Napier University, who is working on a project about generational changes in consumer behaviour and the impact on tourist decision-making, studying the cases of Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore.
“All three destinations share similar resources in terms of their visitor appeal, although the emphasis on casino and gambling developments in Macau do distinguish this destination from the others.
Macau also has the added advantage of the UNESCO World Heritage Site status that neither of the other destinations have”, she told Business Daily.
While the Macau Government is making efforts for the region to diversify tourism attractions beyond the gaming industry, the academic explained that this strategy will increase the appeal of the Special Administrative Region and encourage different visitors to check out the city.
“This approach would be likely to broaden the appeal of the destination and encourage a more diverse visitor market that could contribute to the development of the destination for both local communities and business partners”, Ms. Leask said.
Differentiation key for future
In relation to consumer behaviour and the impact of it on tourists’ decisions in terms of destination, the academic stressed the importance for regions to differentiate and to promote individual features.
“Differentiation between destinations is key to their future – visitors need to know why they should choose one destination over another – so for Macau it would be appropriate to seek to identify the destination’s individual features, perhaps cultural and heritage orientated, so that the scope of the destination offering is extended”, she said to Business Daily.
She also stressed that the tourism sector in the region is going through a phase when due to increasing competition differentiation is more important than ever.
“The global marketplace has become increasingly competitive in recent years and destinations are finding it hard to develop their individuality and stand out from alternative destinations. At this moment Macau, Hong Kong and Singapore are all striving to develop individuality and specialisms to allow them to compete for largely similar markets.”
While asked about the relationship of Hong Kong and Macau in terms of tourism, Ms. Leask said the regions are rather complementary and that increasing the offering in Macau can make visitors stay longer in the region.
“They are likely to be complementary – they can offer different features and gateways to alternative visitor experiences. For example, Hong Kong could lead to greater cruise tourism while Macau [could lead] to heritage tourism”, she said. “The disadvantages of one-day excursion travel can be overcome with strong product offerings to extend the experience or encourage repeat leisure and business travel.”