We really need alternatives to VIPs
Put 1000 people in a room in Macau and ask them: does Macau need to diversify its tourism?
MB July 2020 Special Report | Crossroads of Macau tourism
990 will answer “yes”; the theme generates a rare and profound unanimity locally.
Then ask the 990 how to diversify that same tourism and we will surely get dozens of different answers.
It will be almost each to his own taste.
The Government, for example, after recognizing the failure of the MICE bet, is now betting on major sporting events. But in order to be able to attract new tourists, they have to be high impact sporting events. It’s not enough for Inter Milan to play with PSG …
We will talk about it in this special report.
We add to this, cultural tourism (heritage), gastronomy, luxury products and even niche proposals such as ecotourism or religious tourism.
However, it seems clear that, given the limitations in Macau, it will be easier to diversify through Hengqin, as Ho Iat Seng has been advocating.
PS – And the remaining 10, the reader asks? Yes, there is a minority of people in Macau who understand that VIP customers of gambling rooms will be not only the salvation post-Covid-19 (and they are true), but also the solution to any problem that tourism may have. For this minority, there is no need to do anything, except to not spoil what already exists.
To be clear: VIP customers are important, but Macau has to find alternatives.
Co-ordinated by João Paulo Meneses
To VIP or not VIP, that’s the question
Looking for new policies
“Stay one more night, visit one more day” is the government’s new goal. It remains to be seen how this will happen, and whether there will be less investment in MICE and more demands on non-gaming businesses.
Diversification? “Is the responsibility of the government. Not IRs”
The same person who worked at the Venetian, Grand Lisboa and MGM Cotai, Niall Murray has a long list of clients and work completed, through Murray International Group, which he founded and directs. With work carried out in places as diverse as New York, Beijing, Paris or Las Vegas, he is based in Macau and “is one of the leading experts in designing, developing, opening and operating the world’s largest and most successful Integrated Resorts & Multi-use properties.”
Food: a must do
Gastronomy is one of the areas with the most potential for local tourism. Not only because there is interest from tourists but also because it allows for the development of local identity – unlike luxury shopping, for example.
Mega events? Watch out!
It is not enough to bring (mega) events to Macau and expect them to attract thousands of tourists. First, we need to understand what Chinese tourists want. It will certainly not be exactly the same as in Las Vegas.
MICE industry (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) is not bringing the expected results to Macau. The Government talks about collaborating with Hengqin, but one must not forget the mega-investment that Galaxy is making and which will open next year.
Shopping, how Macau dwarfed Hong Kong
In just a few years, Macau has become a giant shopping mall with all the luxury brands on display. Often at the expense of Hong Kong. Studies say that tourists spend little because they spend little time here.
Religious tourism, risks and opportunities
Hengqin, “the second Macau”
Even though the difficulties are still noticeable, ties between Macau and Hengqin are tightening, driven by the current Chief Executive who sees the future of economic diversification over there, a stone’s throw away.