Like any other business sector, gaming concessionaires are “welcomed” to invest in the new Guangdong-Macau Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, however the future executive committee in charge of the area will study if more hotel projects will be allowed in the area, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said today (Friday).
“We will not restrict or exclude any industry from contributing to the development of the cooperation zone. Any activity, aside from gambling, can install operations in Hengqin,” the head of government said in a special press conference on the cooperation zone plan.
However, Ho underlined that the commission will not allow any kind of development, with evaluations made on its environmental impact and if there is the need for more hotel projects.
“Wanzhai already has many hotels so we will try to find a balance. If there are too many hotels in that area then we will encourage the development of other sectors and other areas, such as the sports or culture sectors. We want to have economic diversification and enrich the touristic offers in the Hengqin island, that’s our goal,” Ho noted.
“We already have large hotel complexes in Hengqin, with more than 2,000 rooms, so we will calculate if the total number of hotel rooms is not already sufficient. If the area is already saturated we will not prioritize it. We will point to investors what are the priority area of investment.
According to Ho, Henqgin receives annually some 10 million tourists, with local authorities now having a say in the future joint executive commission on what tourist projects could be advanced in the area.
The four main focus areas included in the plan for the cooperation zone include technology and high-end manufacturing, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), tourism and MICE, and finance.
The general plan points out that the cooperation zone should help Hengqin develop into a high standard international leisure tourism island; support developing Macau as a world tourism and leisure centre; make great efforts to establish tourism-related industries, such as leisure and vacation, convention and exhibition, sports event tourism.
Tourism resources on peripheral islands are also to be developed and cross-border pleasure boat tours between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau should be supported, while international premium quality consumer goods expos or forums should be held with special visas provided to convention and exhibition working for staff, professional exhibitors, and domestic and foreign visitors holding tickets for conventions and exhibitions for multiple border-crossing travels.
The area is currently already home to large scale hotel properties, such as the Chimaleong Ocean Kingdom or the Hyatt Regency Hengqin in the Novotown entertainment complex.
The opening of Shun Tak’s 230-room Artyzen Habitat Hotel is also scheduled for September 2022, with gaming operator Galaxy Entertainment Group’s having also repeatedly expressed its intentions to build “a world-class, lifestyle leisure resort on a 2.7 square kilometre land parcel on Hengqin”.
A Hengqin based advisor previously told Macau News Agency that investment by Macau gaming concessionaires in the island was now “politically correct” move, as operators aim to increase their chances to see their license renewed in the upcoming license tender process.