Macau Government Tourist Office plans to promote four additional walking tour routes located in the parishes of Nossa Senhora de Fátima and Santo António on the Macau Peninsula, Nossa Senhora do Carmo, in Taipa, and the parish of São Francisco Xavier in Coloane Island. In order to collect the opinions of society, MGTO conducted a one-month opinion poll of different communities, the result of which was released on 24th September inthe Tourism Activities Centre. The result shows that the overall degree of support for the new walking routes among all interviewees was 6.7 (on a scale of 0-10), which is above the intermediate level. Interviewee feedback suggested improving transportation facilities along the routes, more effective promotional strategies and more concerted efforts to divert visitors from the well-beaten tourist track, etc.
MGTO Deputy Director Cheng Wai Tong presented poll ideas conducted by a private research institute. The poll was conducted via five channels; namely, 1) street survey; 2) online questionnaire; 3) collection of social opinions; 4) Internet search, and 5) Leisure Café. The purpose was to gather feedback and opinions from local residents and businesses, as well as comments from media, the Tourism Development Committee and market representatives from around the world.
In terms of street surveys of residents and businesses along the tour routes, 1,257 valid questionnaires were completed and collected. Of the questionnaires, 905 were filled out by residents, whilst 352 were completed by business owners. The result of the street surveys revealed that the overall degree of support for the new walking routes among all interviewees reached 6.71 (on a scale of 0 – 10), while the interviewees’ level of concern was 5.28 (0 – 10); the level of acceptability for the concept by the ‘parish’ adopted in the new tour routes, major road indication and recommendation of nearby attractions was 6.6 (0 – 10). Respondents believed that the new tour routes will have a positive effect on the economy and community culture of the parishes, although concern was expressed, among other issues, that the new routes may worsen the problem of traffic congestion. Some 37% of interviewees made practical suggestions, primarily about ways to improve the supporting transportation system and public/tourism facilities.
The Office received 295 valid online questionnaires in total. The levels of support for the new walking routes, degree of concern, and major road indication as well as recommendation of nearby attractions was higher than those gleaned by the street survey, which were 8.33, 7.91 and 8.16 (0 – 10). Close to 50% of interviewees made practical suggestions about optimising the supporting transportation system and public/tourism facilities.
For the collection of social opinions and search on the Internet, MGTO organised six discussion sessions to hear the related suggestions of the Tourism Development Committee, citizens, businesses and media. A total of 29 suggestion forms were received from the social opinions section, including 77 practical suggestions, such as training of tour route guides for the new walking routes, the enhancement of Macau residents’ awareness of local tourism attractions, improvement of facilities along the routes, more effective promotion strategies and the results of efforts to divert visitors from the well-beaten tourist track, etc. From the search on the Internet section, a total of 93 traditional news reports with 15 opinion articles were included, while 186 posts on online forums and social networks highlighted concerns about the possibility of the four new routes leading to higher rent for businesses. It was also hoped that they would have less influence on citizens’ lives, and that there would be an improvement in the facilities along the walking routes, etc.
The Leisure Café project involved MGTO’s market representatives from around the world, who were divided into groups to stroll along the proposed new tour routes. The representatives generally agreed that these new tour routes were worth promoting in their home markets although some suggested that it is more suitable to advertise the tour routes as an additional product rather than as a main product to attract international visitors; the routes could be recommended to individual visitors and those who visit Macau again or stay for a longer period. Other suggestions from the representatives regarding the new tour routes include improvement of tourism signage and provision of an elaborate introduction to the attractions, the refining of public and supporting facilities, transportation facilitation measures and so forth.
The first four itineraries of ‘Step Out, Experience Macau's Communities’ were launched by MGTO on 27th September last year to encourage visitors to explore different areas of the city on foot. The four introductory routes were: ‘A Tour of Historical Trails’, ‘A Tour of Nature and Creativity’, ‘A Tour of East Meets West’ and ‘A Tour of Arts and Culture’. Along the four walking tour routes entertainment such as a lion dance, Chinese Opera, street dance, martial arts, folk dance performances plus street painting, music and puppet shows was provided. Printed map leaflets of the four routes are available, and visitors can download the maps as well as enjoy the videos of these routes on the MGTO website. Residents and visitors can also search through AppStore or Google Play and download the mobile application ‘Step Out, Macau’ for free.