Earlier last month, the Macao SAR Government Tourism Development Committee (CDT) held a meeting attended by representatives of the Macao Government Tourism Office and Cultural Affairs Bureau at which the latest information on the tourism industry in Macao was presented to members of the CDT. Following the meeting, members of the CDT paid a visit to the Ka Ho Village of Our Lady, expressing strong admiration for its preservation and beauty.
During the meeting, the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, and President of CDT, Alexis Tam, referred to the national desire that Macao become a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure, saying it was therefore essential to introduce new tourism products. As cultural heritage is a precious resource of the Macao SAR the government will improve the employment of cultural content to develop tourism, extending the benefits to the population. The Ka Ho Village of Our Lady has a legacy of several small Portuguese-style houses, on which the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) is currently conducting restoration and conservation works.
The Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, said in a media interview during the CDT visit to the site that if the government wished to introduce the Ka Ho Heritage Tour with Ka Ho Village a sightseeing spot the authorities needed to consider the issue of ancillary facilities, thus research is to be undertaken next year.
The Ka Ho Village of Our Lady once served as a village for leprosy patients. Deputy Director of MGTO Cheng Wai Tong told the media that to create a new tourist spot the government could combine the village with the history of public health and charity extended by religious organisations in Macao, adding that similar examples can be found in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, India, Norway, America and Greece. Although such sites usually support museums or parks, some jurisdictions also declare the 'relics' of public healthcare as world cultural heritage, which is a good example for Macao.
The Head of the Cultural Heritage Department of the IC, Leong Wai Man, told the media that apart from Our Lady of Sorrows Church, which was built in the 1960's and remains in good condition, six houses in the village built in the 1930's are dilapidated and ageing. IC repaired two houses in 2013 and 2016 and is confident that the repairs of the other four will be completed in 2017; moreover, two village staircases - one curved and linked to the piers - will be repaired depending upon condition.
Committee members also agreed to reconfigure the Grand Prix Museum, suggesting introducing more ornamental value to the exhibitions in order to turn the Museum into a modern, world renowned attraction serving as a useable local history brand.