Wednesday, 21 Mar 2018
FMBA & AmCham Macau Breakfast Meeting [dated 29-May-2013]


Macau Daily Times

Visitor numbers grow slightly, MGTO head praises “stable increase”

Trying to build itself as a world center for tourism and leisure, Macau continues to benefit from a “stable increase in tourism numbers,” the director of the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) revealed yesterday during a breakfast meeting. According to Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, “9,474,782 people [have] visited Macau since January this year, representing a growth of 1.6 percent.” “These figures alleviate the pressure of people saying we have too many tourists in Macau, as we are having a stable increase. Hotels are still doing all right and I hope the industry is coming up with new products,” the director added.

Putting in place multiple plans in order to convince tourists to stay longer, Helena de Senna Fernandes seemed satisfied with the current hotel rates. This year, overnight guests reached a total of 2.5 million; representing a growth of 15.7 percent compared to the same period last year. Currently hotels have an occupation rate of around 86 percent.

Tourists who visit and stay in Macau are mainly from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand. “The greater China portion is increasing, however the international markets have known a decrease,” the MGTO director admitted. There is a total visitor expenditure of USD 43.7 billion. “The Chinese are still the highest spenders, but we intend to expand our tourism market, hoping to increase the number of visitors from other countries too,” she explained, adding that the low number of direct flights to Macau is one of the main issues.

Trying to turn Macau into a world center for tourism and leisure, Helena de Senna Fernandes wishes to make residents of Macau more engaged with the tourism market. “We are promoting a tourism awareness campaign, as we believe everybody should be a tourism ambassador in Macau,” the director explained, adding that MGTO “feels some tourists prefer to interact with local people and the residents should feel comfortable in doing that.” 103, 845 residents have already applied to participate in this tourism awareness program and will become ambassadors.

This year, MGTO hopes to put in place several strategies to develop cultural tourism products, innovative promotional techniques, new training programs and a tourism master plan research project in order to develop the Macau’s tourist sector.

According to Helena de Senna Fernandes, the government is also revising two laws, one related to travel agencies and the other regarding accommodation and dining services. “One of the main areas under discussion affects the operations of hotels and restaurants. At this point the law is still being drafted and it predicts a new star rating system as we are introducing new elements linked to quality and types of software,” the director concluded.

Organized by France Macau Business Association and The American Chamber of Commerce in Macau, the breakfast meeting took place yesterday at the Sofitel Hotel.  

Improvements in tourism signage 

The director of the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO), Helena de Senna Fernandes, revealed yesterday that a study on tourism signage in Macau will soon be published. “We feel tourists have the opportunity when walking around Macau to visit the most important sites, but it seems that signs aren’t really helping them to get to the places they want to see,” she explained. The MGTO head expects to “put in place a better signage system,” so visitors will not have to depend on tourist guides so frequently. “You will see improvements in the years to come,” she promised.

In addition, Helena de Senna Fernandes explained that, in the program to develop cultural tourism, MGTO is working on a temple and church project, a wedding incentive scheme, a student excursion program, a fishing boat tour and the organization of carnivals traditional to Portuguese-speaking countries.


Macao Daily 澳門日報











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