The UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, announced on the early morning of November 1, Macao time, the designation of “Macao, China” as a new member city of UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in the field of Gastronomy. Macao now boosts of yet another world renown status as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, which is set to bring an array of new opportunities to promote Macao’s unique gastronomic culture and develop a sustainable tourism industry, as the city works to transform itself into a world centre of tourism and leisure.
Macao submitted the application to UNESCO Secretariat under the name of “Macao, China”. The application for a designation as Creative City of Gastronomy received the support of the National Commission of the People’s Republic of China for UNESCO, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC and the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC in the Macao SAR. The local Tourism Development Committee, along with the European Oenogastronomic Brotherhoods Council and the China Cuisine Association also gave their support to the application. Macao became the third Creative City of Gastronomy in China, after Chengdu and Shunde. UCCN covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts.
The designation of Macao as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy adds a powerful international branding to the city’s portfolio that already includes the listing of The Historic Centre of Macao as UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005, and following the inscription of the collection of “Chapas Sínicas” (Official Records of Macao During the Qing Dynasty (1693-1886)) on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. Macao is an associate member of UNESCO since 1995.
In a comment to the success of the application, the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government and Chairman of the Application of Macao, China for the UCCN Committee, Alexis Tam, said: “I am extremely happy that we joined UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the field of Gastronomy and strongly confident that becoming a member of the network will open new horizons for Macao to develop as a diverse, unique and sustainable city. Gastronomy has all along been a distinctive element of our culture of over 400 years of east-meets-west exchanges and we will devote our utmost efforts to bring our unique elements to contribute to the enrichment of the network.
“Macao becoming a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy is set to offer a contribution to the city that goes beyond gastronomy and tourism, as it will bring in new models of development that recognize creativity as a strategic factor of sustainable development, which we are willing to take advantage of in partnership with other cities and local partners,” highlighted the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture.
“This great opportunity to join the network would not be possible without the strong support from the Central Government that endorsed our application right from the beginning, for what we are sincerely grateful. We are also very thankful that local tourism stakeholders united to work to prepare the application and to all the guidance and support Macao received from other creative cities and entities during the preparation process. Macao will cherish this new title as a Creative City of Gastronomy and make good use of it to help transform our city into a world centre of tourism and leisure,” Alexis Tam added.
To celebrate the designation of Macao as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, the Macao SAR Government will launch a series of activities locally and internationally, to raise the awareness about the designation. A number of initiatives will also be rolled out in different fronts like enhancing vocational training, organizing international gastronomy forum as an annual event, participate in Creative Cities organized international exchange events, and also the setting up of a management unit that comprises both public and private sector to implement and supervise all the initiatives and projects undertaken, amongst others. All actions and initiatives will correspond to the UCCN mission of using creativity as a driver for sustainable urban development.