Macao Government Tourism Office

 Media Statement
2006 -06 -28
Summary of MGTO's presentation on tourism development

MGTO Annual Marketing Meeting opens
Macau has entered a new era of rapid development. 2005 was a significant year for the travel and tourism industry of Macau. In 2005, the visitor arrivals reached an all time record of 18.7 million visitors, a surge of 12.2% over 2004.

Since the Handover in 1999, total visitor arrivals have increased rapidly from approximately 7.5 million in 1999 to 18.7 million in 2005.

Last year, all visitor generating source markets registered positive growth rates, both long and short haul. The share of the East Asian region in 2005 was 95.4%, representing an increase of 11.2% over 2004 as shown in the slide.

During the first five months of this year, visitor arrivals reached 8.8 million registering an increase of 17.8% compared with the same period of 2005. The overnight stay totalled 4.2 million and accounted for 47.8% of the total visitor arrivals. Macau major visitor generating markets continue to be Mainland China; Hong Kong SAR; Taiwan, China; Japan and the Republic of Korea in the East Asian region.

Visitor arrivals from the Southeast Asian region is growing rapidly, increasing 59.6% during the first five months. One of the significant factors that encouraged this upsurge is the introduction of more low cost carriers operating directly to the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, and has huge potential for growth.

With the liberalization of the gaming industry, Macau's tourism product portfolio is undergoing product diversification with the gaming and tourism sector assuming a greater role in stimulating the growth of Macau's economy in the years to come.

With the support of the Central Government, Macau's tourism industry will continue to flourish. Following the completion of the new entertainment projects, Macau will be better equipped with world class hotel accommodation, top-notched restaurants and numerous branded retail outlets.

The inscription of the Historic Centre of Macau as a World Heritage Site in July 2005 enhanced Macau's characteristics as the meeting point of the East and the West. The Historic Centre of Macau is our invaluable cultural heritage as well as crucial asset of our tourism industry. It also enabled new opportunities for the promotion of cultural tourism. To capitalize on the World Heritage brand effect of the Historic Centre of Macau, the Macau Government Tourist Office launched the "2006 Macau World Heritage Year".

Although Macau's tourism industry is facing quite a few opportunities, a lot of challenges are ahead of us to tackle. With all the new hardware to be opened in Macau, there is also a huge demand for software, that is human resources, to cope up with these developments.

Tourism is a people's business. Quality service is the key in the tourism industry and human resources is one of our most precious assets.

Many hotel accommodation facilities are under construction. In terms of future hotel room supply during the next ten years, we have records with 59 new hotels and two existing hotels to be expanded. In total, there will be an addition of over 42,000 rooms to our existing supply of 12,000 hotel rooms. One could roughly estimate the number of staff required for all these new facilities.

Labour shortage is a serious issue. The concern of finding suitable candidates with the right know-how in everything from the health sector to the security services are immense and growing. The service quality of local tourism facilities is being strained by the problem of manpower shortage compounded by high staff turnover.

Quality service is crucial for the image of Macau as one of the premier tourist destination in the Asia Pacific region. Macau will need the cooperation of all sectors to ensure the provision of service quality and foster the sustainable development of the tourism industry in response to the rapidly changing environment.

In the global tourism market, Macau cannot work alone to get our share in the international market place. Strategic Alliances is one of the key strategies that is being implemented. For example, the Macau SAR Government has been working with our mainland partners from the Pan Pearl River Delta Region in promoting in various markets, including both regional and long haul markets.

Macau is also trying to diversify its source of clients. Besides the traditional leisure market, Macau is aiming to develop the business tourism sector. The Macau SAR government is determined to capitalize on the opportunity to develop the territory into a prominent business tourism destination in the region. In April 2006, MGTO opened the Macau Business Tourism Centre and its mission is to create favourable conditions for the development of business tourism in Macau. The centre is to encourage both the public and private sectors to jointly produce competitive products and services with high quality.

In terms of product diversification, Macau has created special events all year round to satisfy the different needs of our visitors; they range from festivities celebrating Chinese New Year, to the International Fireworks Festival. Moreover, the Macau SAR Government is also committed to develop various sports events like the famous Macau Grand Prix, Karting Championship, and even Mega events like the East Asian Games and Asian Indoor Games to promote and attract visitors for this segment.

It is an exciting time for Macau's tourism industry and with new infrastructures soon completing, it will further enhance Macau's position as a leading destination for leisure and business.