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2003 -01 -28 [Back]
Macau Government Tourist Office Press Conference 2003 (Translation)

The Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) held a press conference and a lunch reception for the media and the tourism industry on January 28 (Tuesday). Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Dr. Chui Sai On, attended the press conference and delivered a speech. Director of MGTO, João Manuel Costa Antunes, presented a summary on the work and the achievements of the entity over the past year and outlined the challenges and objectives for the year ahead at the press conference.

The total visitor arrivals in Macau for last year exceeded 11,530,000, an increment of 12.2% compared with the year 2001. At present, Macau's major source markets are Hong Kong, Mainland China and Taiwan, representing percentage shares of 44, 37 and 13 respectively.

Comparing with previous years, there is a structural change in the tourism source markets of Macau, (i.e.) the proportion of visitors from Mainland China is becoming bigger, and visitors continued to grow sharply by 41%, generating a total of 4.24 million visitors from Mainland China last year. In November last year, the number of visitors from Mainland China surpassed the number of visitors from Hong Kong, showing that Mainland China has become a huge and a very important tourism source market for Macau.

As a means of encouraging tourism development and to lift the restrictions on mainland visitors coming to Macau, the Central Government has approved 528 mainland tour operators under the Macau Tour Scheme. Moreover, 76 travel agencies in Macau were being permitted as ground receiving agents and both tour operators in the Mainland and ground receiving agents in Macau are ready to initiate the "Macau Tour" business.

In this connection, MGTO will organize more tourism platforms in cities and provinces in the Mainland to assist the operation and development of businesses, making it more convenient for visitors from the Mainland to visit Macau. For the past two months, MGTO has undertaken such activities in Zhuhai and Shanghai respectively.

Following by the relaxation on Hong Kong Macau Tour policy, the Guangdong province has announced various related measures, which allow more citizens of Guangdong and citizens of other provinces residing in Guangdong to visit Hong Kong and Macau, impliying that Macau will receive more Mainland visitors in the future.

Meanwhile, MGTO will continue to consolidate and organize promotional activities in important source markets such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and so on.

The Macau SAR has established tourism and gaming industry as the leading industry for its economy. The tourism authorities will follow this direction to eventually make Macau an international MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention, Exhibition) and leisure destination by striving to develop cultural and leisure tourism resources as well as convention and incentive tourism. Macau will also further enrich its tourism products and enhance cooperation with nearby regions to establish a regional tourism brand.

MGTO will set up a MICE Research and Information Center to study and plan for future development, invite experts and scholars to provide training to nurture talents for the MICE industry.

As one of Macau's most prestigious sporting events, the Macau Grand Prix attracts thousands of visitors to take part in this exciting event, playing a key role in raising the profile of Macau as an international destination. It is the 50th Anniversary of the Macau Grand Prix this year and the organizer will strive to make the event the most prominent ever by enhancing the attractiveness of the races and orchestrate a series of colorful activities, which will be widely promoted.

The legislature is working on the amendment of the relevant bill to combat fake products and unscrupulous shops through strengthening enforcement action and joint departmental cooperation to protect visitors' interest and consolidate the image of Macau. In addition, consultation has been completed for the amendment of legislation related to the regulation of operations of travel agents and tour guides (48/98/M) and the opinions collected are being analyzed.

Last year the Tourist Assistance Unit has received 162 complaints, with a total monetary value of MOP$220,000. The unit also succeeded in refunding about MOP$96,000 to the tourists involved.

The overall budget of MGTO this year is MOP$281,228,500. MGTO will allocate its resources in a more effective way to achieve the objectives of source market expansion and quality enhancement.

Regional tourism has become a world trend in recent years. For Macau tourism to achieve sustainable development in the long run, Macau should work closely with nearby regions in addition to capitalizing on its competitive edge and characteristics. In this way, Macau can advance its competitiveness in the international stage through resource sharing, pooling its strengths with other cities in the region and advancing marketing power.

For the tourism industry to achieve sustainable development, Macau should attach great importance to service quality. In view of this, MGTO will continue to support various training programs and activities, such as the 'Macau Tourism Awareness Campaign', to arouse the awareness of tourism employees and local residents on the significance of tourism and hospitality.