Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Mr. Chui Sai On hosted the opening and delivered speech at the Marketing Meeting 2004 of Macao Government Tourist Office, held today (June 23) at the Macao Tourist Activities Centre.
Director of Macao Government Tourist Office, João Manuel Costa Antunes introduced the future marketing and promotion initiatives to the overseas representatives from 14 countries and regions at the Marketing Meeting and concluded the last year's tourism performance in Macau.
Speaking at the Marketing Meeting, Secretary for Social Affairs & Culture Dr Chui Sai On noted that with the great support from the Central Government and the clear strategies of the Macao SAR Government, the tourism industry of Macao has undergone significant changes in the past five years, and at the same time, achieved remarkable performances.
He pointed out that in recent development, the further opening up of Mainland's tourism markets has created favourable conditions for the continuous growth of Macao's tourism industry. Following the implementation of the 'Macao Tour' scheme in 2002, the introduction of the 'Individual Visit Scheme' last July, which enables citizens from the Guangdong Province, Beijing and Shanghai to visit Hong Kong and Macao individually, has initiated a breakthrough for the travel pattern of the Mainland visitors; while at the same time, brought a structural change to the tourism market of Macao.
He said that Macao has welcomed 6.43 million visitors for the first 5 months this year, an increase of 51%. Amongst the arrivals, 57% are from the Mainland, an increase of 95%", "Until the 3rd June this year, statistics shows that the arrivals from the Mainland on 'Individual Visit Scheme' reached 1.8 million since its launch on July 28 2003. With the further extension of the scheme to 9 cities in Fujian, Jiangsu and Jiejiang provinces from the 1st July, we believe that the arrivals from the Mainland will continue to surge", he added.
He stressed that at the Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional Co-operation and Development Forum recently held in the region, tourism authorities from 9 provinces and regions + 2 Special Administrative Regions of the Pan-Pearl River Delta are working on the overall tourism cooperation in the PPRD region. Given the abundant but unique tourism resources of each province and region in the PPRD region, this initiative offers promising prospective and strong foundation for the joint development of the tourism industry.
Looking forward, the tourism industry of Macao is facing both opportunities and challenges. The continuous surge in visitor arrivals has put the supporting facilities and carrying capacity of Macao to a test. Macao authorities and tourism trades are working hand in hand to ensure Macao is ready to cater for the needs of the visitors by evaluating our carrying capacity. We place a lot of emphasis on enhancing service standards, as service quality and hospitality received plays a key role in travelers' impression about a destination. It is important to continue to upgrade our standards, making Macao a truly hospitable destination.
In the development of Macao tourism industry, the SAR Government spares no effort in improving the relevant regulations and strengthening the supervision over the market to ensure smooth operations and protect the interest of the visitors.
The tourism industry of Macao is entering a new phase, as a number of tourism and entertainment facilities have started operations or will be completed soon. The 3 gaming concession operators are right on track with their investment plans of entertainment complex that promise to give Macao a striking scene in a few years. Therefore, the Macao Government Tourist Office and the overseas representatives will continue making great effort to contribute ideas on marketing and promotional strategy to boost the tourism industry of Macao.