The leading tourism industry brings tremendous economic benefits to Macau every year. Besides the tourism sector's efforts, the inspectors who work for Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) have made extraordinary contributions behind to the preservation of service quality in Macau tourism industry as well. Their duties include regular inspections at different hotels, restaurants, bars and karaoke lounges in Macau against any illegalities. In recent years, they even have to tackle problems arising from the rapid tourism development such as tour group conflicts and illegal accommodation. All these have brought heavy workload upon them. Despite so, they never cease striving hard to safeguard Macau's image as a fascinating tourist city.
Working as an inspector for 23 years, Leão witnessed the booming prosperity of Macau tourism industry which inevitably gave birth to different issues. He and his coworkers were dedicated to helping visitors resolve their needs. With the increasing visitor number and visitors' growing concern for their rights, the team faced more complicated situations at work. He expressed that it was essential for the inspectors to know the legal regulations well and enforce them meticulously in order to prosecute any illegal entities or alleged parties.
As the law on "Prohibition of Providing Illegal Accommodation" came into effect, the related workload also surged higher. Leão stated that the inspectors were scrupulous about their personal safety during their operation against illegal accommodation. They took joint operation with the police every time. The accommodated guests were generally more cooperative as the inspectors mainly targeted the premise operators or parties in charge of the premises. The operating style of illegal accommodation however evolved in accord with the active law enforcement, making their mission more challenging.
Looking back to the early days when the law first came in force, the whole inspection team had to work extra harder day and night. Leão said they slept 2 to 3 hours a day only during the first week. Before the law enforcement, his inspection team had collected information to analyze whether an alleged premise was operated as illegal accommodation. They took immediate action after the law came into effect and sealed many illegal guest houses. Their painstaking efforts well paid off.
With more frequent tourism disputes in recent years, Leão believed the problem was mainly due to group tour itineraries that failed to match the guests' original expectation. The responsibility was commonly not upon the local tour operators but the Mainland travel agencies whom visitors knew they should blame. The incidents however happened in Macau and caused turmoil among visitors who then requested compensation from their Macau tour operators.
In face of such situations, Leão stated that they would assist the local tour operators in negotiating with the guests. They would also confirm if the local operators and tour guides did anything illegal. Most visitors were concerned whether they could receive any compensation like hotel arrangement. If the inspectors found that the responsibility was not upon the local operators, they would explain the situation to the visitors. Sometimes the local operators were willing to pay one night's accommodation for the guests and the inspectors would help them looking for available hotels to solve the situation.
Leão pointed out that frontline jobs were extremely challenging and therefore superior guidance and support was important especially for them to achieve the mission of combating illegal accommodation. The office could not reach the expected results just by relying on inspectors' operation. It also required communication between the superiors and other related departments to make an overall scheme. He appreciated the superiors' support and trust as well as his coworkers for their collaboration, who together made a highly-efficient team.
Established in Macau for years, the inspection team had only a few female teammates. Ms. Ma was one of them for 18 years. She shared that being an inspector had become her lifelong career while she enjoyed her job very much particularly when she successfully settled disputes for visitors and helped them fight for their rights.
Ma stated that female inspectors played a role in moderating the tense situation when they partnered with male coworkers during operation and encountered visitors with fierce attitude. A lot of time they had to act according to circumstances, which made it important for them to work closely with each other.
Mr. Chiang, who joined the team 4 years ago, believed in the importance of experience for them to excel at their operation. The department provided regular training for them while inspectors had to thoroughly learn the related laws to handle disputes and illegalities. After all, it was very stressful to work as an inspector. Once he had to handle three dispute cases within 48 hours. Because of their unstable working hours and demanding workload, inspectors had to sacrifice time with their family and friends. He nonetheless preferred his job to stable office hours because working as an inspector had broadened his perspective widely.
Inspectors were also in charge of assistance cases. Chiang once helped an over-80-year-old lady looking for her son whom she was unable to contact during their trip in Macau. During the whole process, the inspectors tried to pacify the lady while assisting her in finding her son, who eventually showed up at the Barrier Gate. Working to get the case resolved, Chiang missed his own birthday celebration with his family.
The inspection team regularly held meetings for experience sharing among teammates. Other official entities also provided related training sessions for the team to learn about investigation techniques or guidelines when handling food poisoning incidents.
Regardless of the great stress at work, Leão enjoyed his job as an inspector and his sense of satisfaction prevailed when cases were resolved and illegalities were combated. Giving full play to his professional skills and experiences at work, he was dedicated to fostering the sound development of Macau tourism industry.