The Macau SAR will be able to use its tourism experience and expertise to help Hengqin and Zhuhai develop more tourism offerings, Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said today (Thursday).
The recently revealed cooperation plan for the neighbouring island cites four main focuses mainly on four areas, namely, technology and high-end manufacturing, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), tourism and MICE, and finance.
“Not much has been included concerning tourism in this particular plan. I think the main focus is in terms of new industries, finance, tech but tourism is a small portion of that. However, that is basically because in terms of tourism promotion and cooperation with Hengqin and the rest of the Greater Bay Area has already commenced for much longer,” Fernandes said today during a talk centred on the local tourism market amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic organised by the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Macau.
“We have been doing it for a long time but of course, there is still much that can still be done. We are looking at possibilities concerning working together with Hengqin and Zhuhai to develop more tourism products involving their outlying islands”
The general plan specifically refers that tourism resources on peripheral islands should be developed and cross-border pleasure boat tours between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau should be supported.
It also 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.
The MGTO Director noted that while Macau has almost 40,000 hotel rooms, in comparison Hengqin islands had 13,000 rooms and 15 hotels, with just 6,500 of those rooms inside the Chimaleong Ocean Kingdom area.
“That’s why we still have a large advantage in terms of leading the tourism development together with Henqgin. I know our Zhuhai counterparts are relying a lot on our expertise to help them develop tourism products,” she added.
Previously, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng stated that the future joint Guangdong-Macau executive committee in charge of the area would study if more hotel projects would be allowed in the area or if the sector was already “saturated”.
Ms. Fernandes also considered that the cooperation zone having traditional Chinese medicine as one of its main areas of interest, further collaborations between the two sides covering health tourism involving TCM could also be discussed.