Following on from December's announcement by the Central People's Government inviting Macao to participate in the 'Belt and Road' initiative, Macao SAR Chief Executive Chui Sai On led the work committee of the Chief Executive's Office to Fuzhou and Guangzhou from 22nd to 24th February, 2017 to co-ordinate and deploy Macao's participation via high-level meetings in co-operation with the two neighbouring provinces. Tourism was among the sectors referred to Macao, Fujian and Guangdong for future co-operation.
Strengthening tourism co-operation between Fujian and Macao to explore the international market in 'Belt and Road'
The MSAR Chief Executive and the Governor of Fujian Province, Yu Weiguo, respectively led Fujian-Macao high-level meeting delegations drawn from their governments in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province, on 22nd February. Discussions included how to progress joint efforts for the development of the 'Belt and Road' Initiative, including furthering Macao's aspirations to be a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure. The respective parties agreed to promote the tourism offers of Fujian and Macao on the international stage - as a path to enriching tourism co-operation among places covered by the 'Belt and Road' Initiative.
Macao will also act as a platform to promote co-operation between Fujian and Portuguese-speaking countries plus Southeast Asian and other countries, while strengthening the 'Belt and Road' elements in Macao's major meetings and exhibitions and attract Fujian Province to participate, along with encouraging further exchanges among young people, and intensifying co-operation on Chinese medicine and culture.
The two sides also mentioned the exchange of A-Ma culture (Mazu), particularly with regard to the task of securing a UNESCO cultural heritage listing and in preserving such culture. Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said that Macao and Fujian have co-operated for many years on the tourism front, focusing in the past mainly on A-Ma culture; more recently, with MGTO having been invited by Fujian Province last year to join the China Maritime Silk Road Tourism Promotion Alliance, a new co-operation platform was launched in the process.
The Director also pointed out that Fujian and Macao have conducted research, product design and market development of tourism co-operation under the 'Belt and Road' theme, and will continue to use the tourism promotion alliance of the China Maritime Silk Road as a platform to promote its tourism image. Consequently, the Fujian Provincial Tourism Bureau has been invited to introduce its products and services via Macao-organized meetings and exhibitions to strengthen co-operation between the two parties.
Building Guangdong and Macao linkage to enrich 'Belt and Road' tourism
The Chief Executive and the Secretary of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee, Hu Chunhua, plus the Governor of Guangdong, Ma Xingrui, led high-level meeting delegations drawn from their governments in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, on 24thFebruary. The joint implementation of the Free Yachting Scheme between Guangdong and Macao was also discussed, as was optimisation of multi-destination tourism, among other topics seeking to continually add 'Belt and Road' tourism elements.
The encouragement of further exchanges between associations from the two places of returned overseas Chinese was also on the agenda; namely, by encouraging overseas Chinese to visit Guangdong and Macao, encouraging co-operation in trade investment, meetings and exhibitions, as well as pressing ahead with the development of 'Dawan area' - a logistics hub in the coastal areas encompassing Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. Macao will also utilize its role as a platform to promote co-operation between Guangdong, Portuguese-speaking countries and other countries along the 'Belt and Road'.
MGTO Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes pointed out that this year's tourism co-operation between Guangdong and Macao included joint participation in tourism exhibitions and joint tourism promotion work on countries and regions along the 'Belt and Road'. She added that Macao had invited Guangdong Tourism Bureau and other members of the China Maritime Silk Road Tourism Promotion Alliance to attend PATA Travel Mart, Macao International Travel (Industry) Expo, World Tourism Economic Forum and the National Congress of the Portuguese Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies. In addition, MGTO will co-operate with the Guangdong Provincial Tourism Bureau to jointly develop plans to promote the Free Yachting Scheme.
Members of the Macao delegation to Fujian and Guangdong included the Chief-of-Office of the Chief Executive's Office, O Lam; the Director of the Government Information Bureau, Victor Chan; the Director of the Policy Research Office, Lao Pun Lap; the President of the Administrative Committee of the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute, Jackson Chang; the Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes; the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Macau Investment and Development Limited, Lu Hong; and Consultant to the Chief Executive's Office, Kou Chin Hung.