NIMBY’s prevail

Over 60 per cent of Macau people support the idea of creating family hostels in the Special Administrative Region. However, only the population living in the districts of Cathedral Parish and Coloane are available to accommodate them, a study on the feasibility of family hostels presented by the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) has revealed.
“At this moment, there’s not enough support from the population to continue to introduce this kind of accommodation in Macau. Sixty per cent of the population say they believe it would be feasible to implement this kind of accommodation but they do not want it in their neighbourhood”, the Director of MGTO, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, said following the presentation of the study.
Public security issues were cited by respondents as their main concern. However, their concerns also include the surge in flat prices, traffic problems and regulatory issues. Family hostels are accommodation where people can rent out a bed or room inside their own place.
On the other hand, locals believe that such hostels would make accommodation cheaper and attract different kinds of tourist. However, the analysis of this kind of accommodation in regions like Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong demonstrate that prices are not likely to be much cheaper.
“The majority of the population believes this will provide cheaper accommodation. And it may be a little cheaper. However, the examples of Taiwan or Japan show that this model is not a real economic alternative to existing accommodation”, Ms. Senna de Fernandes explained.
The results of the study will delay the implementation of this model until the second wave of casinos is opened in Cotai.
“I do not think there will be another public consultation in the coming two years. Many hotels will open in the future and they may provide less expensive prices in Macau”, she said. “We’ll wait to see how things are going to change and then consider the options”.
According to the Deputy Director of MGTO, Cheng Wai Tong, the study cost less than MOP500,000 and was conducted by the Centre for Macau Studies of the University of Macau. The research included opinion polls, case analyses from different regions and a legal analysis.
Lately, MGTO has been advised to explore the religious side of the territory as a way of attracting visitors. However, Maria Helena de Senna Fernades explained that these campaigns are not going to focus on the mass market.
“We are targeting the religious market in countries like the Philippines. But these are not campaigns for the mass market but very specific; for example, such campaigns have to be addressed to religious associations, or groups”, she explained.
The religious aspect of tourism, however, has been targeted by MGTO. “We have been working to raise awareness within the hospitality industry for the needs of different religions. For example, many tourists coming from Indonesia are Muslim and we want the hotels in Macau to provide the conditions for them to feel welcome and comfortable”, she said.