The Macau Government Tourist Office's Annual Marketing Meeting was held yesterday morning at Macau Tourism Activities Centre. The Secretary of Social Affairs and Culture, Dr. Chui Sai On, had attended the Meeting and gave a speech.
The Director of MGTO, João Manuel Costa Antunes, presented a summary on the work and the achievements of this entity over the past few months and outlined the challenges and objectives for the year ahead at the Meeting.
Dr. Chui said at the Meeting that after receiving the record breaking 9 million visitors in the year 2000, last year, we celebrated a breakthrough of 10 million visitors to Macau, with Hong Kong, Mainland China and Taiwan the leading source markets. For the first half of this year, a total of close to 5.5 million visitor arrivals have been recorded, with a steady grow of 9.32%. Among them, almost 1.5 million were overnight guests, an increase of 14.43% over last year.
He pointed out that the visa facilitation policy, introduced in the beginning of this year in China, has had a positive effect in attracting the Mainland tourists to Hong Kong and Macau. The rate of increase of Mainland tourists to Macau is most significant, with an increase of 40%. TO further strengthen this market, MGTO is actively participating in many tourism fairs and conference in the Mainland. At present, the tourism sector of the Office of Macau SAR Government in Beijing is actively participating in the operation.
Apart from this, we also attach great importance to the South East Asian markets. We have recently resumed the direct air services between Macau and Singapore, operated by SilkAir, said Dr. Chui.
A slight decrease on the length of stay of tourists fro the first 6 months was recorded. To attract tourists to prolong their stay in Macau, more tourism products and facilities will be essential. The Macau Tower, inaugurated last December, has become a popular tourism spot of Macau. A number of new projects, including the expansion of the Macau Stadium, Macau Dome, Fisherman's Wharf, the A-Ma Cultural Village, East Asia Satellite TV City, the Macau Science Centre, the Reform of Inner Harbour as well as the new Border Gate Checkpoint are going to be new elements to further develop the local tourism industry.
Dr. Chui said, The MSAR Government has clearly positioned itself as the tourism gaming destination, with the idea to develop into an international center for conferences and exhibitions, as well as leisure tourism. The three newly selected companies have committed to invest on various facilities, which in turn would provide Macau with the necessary hardware to become an international tourism city. The MSAR Government is committed to develop the M.I.C.E. industry and confirmed the importance of such industry on the overall economy. A M.I.C.E. Research and Information Centre will be set up to plan and coordinate all M.I.C.E. related matters.
MGTO has recently announced the newly appointed Australian/New Zealand and Indian representatives. The representatives play a key role in further developing the markets, they will work closely with their local travel trade and media in promoting Macau's tourism.