Macao Government Tourism Office

 Press Release
2003 -07 -16
Opening of MGTO Marketing Meeting 2003 (Translation)

Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Mr. Chui Sai On hosted the opening and delivered speech at the Marketing Meeting 2003 of Macau Government Tourist Office, held today (July 16) at the Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Centre.

Director of MGTO 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 the tourism industry has been and would remain to be the most important industry in Macau. "Any major damage to the tourism sector is liable to have far-reaching consequences. The SARS situation has no doubt affected the livelihood of many Macau citizens. Given that the situation of SARS has been contained and the global tourism gradually regaining its momentum, that this meeting was a very timely initiative to revitalize the tourism industry in Macau," he continued

He also pointed out that the tourism policy for Macau this year would continue to concentrate on attracting quality visitors, increasing per capita expenditure and average length of stay of the visitors, especially within the three major source markets: namely Hong Kong, Mainland China and Taiwan. "The quick rise of the Mainland market is gradually leading to a change in the structure of Macau's tourism markets," he added.

He stressed that tourist attractions of a destination played a key role in travelers' choice of a destination, and with the gaming concessionaires initiating their projects, numerous state-of- the-art facilities were expected to complete in the next few years, adding new spice to the tourism industry of Macau.

Affected by the impact of SARS outbreak in the nearby regions, the tourism industry of Macau has been hit hard, revealed in the plunge in visitors arrivals, hotel occupancy and passenger volume at the airport.

In the wake of SARS situation gradually comes under control in neighboring regions during the past two months, and the lift of travel advisory on Guangdong and Hong Kong by WHO on May 23, the local tourism industry is pacing towards recovery. Even though the June visitor arrivals still accounted for a 5% decrease, the arrivals in real terms during June actually increased by 32% as compared to May that suffered a drop of 37%. Signs of pick-up in the tourist markets can be seen by the fact that arrivals from Mainland China reported a rise of 29% in June and that the slippage has also eased significantly for Hong Kong.

The new ferry terminal that is under construction at the Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok Airport will be completed this year. Ferry services will then be offered within the Pearl River Delta region and the traveling time between Macau and Hong Kong will be reduced to 40 minutes. This will definitely have a positive impact on Macau's tourism industry since this project will entice more tourists from long-haul markets and allow new itineraries from regional markets who do not have regular air links to Macau. MGTO will analyze and draw up promotion strategies in support of the new route to boost arrivals.

MGTO are also planning to form strategic alliances with airline companies and tourism industry partners in order to create synergy in promoting Macau tourism in Mainland China, particularly in the Guangdong province and major cities which have flight connections with Macau. Through this network of strategic alliances, MGTO also hope to enhance the promotional support within Mainland China to maximize its marketing efforts.