Tourism Development Committee holds First Plenary Meeting of 2017

The meeting discussed the Macao Tourism Industry Development Master Plan plus various thematic issues (Photo provided by Tourism Development Committee)

The Tourism Development Committee (CDT, from its Portuguese acronym) held its first plenary meeting of 2017 on 1st June at the Tourism Activities Centre. The meeting was chaired by Alexis Tam, the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture and Chairman of the CDT.

Macao Tourism Industry Development Master Plan

During the meeting, the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) presented the latest developments in the tourism industry, with several key statistics showing significant growth compared to the same period last year.

The company responsible for the elaboration of the Macao Tourism Industry Development Master Plan, AECOM Asia, also made a presentation to the members of the Committee on the latest progress of the plan. To achieve the overall goal of transforming Macao into a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure, the General Plan covers a number of tourism themes, outlining eight key guiding objectives, supported by a number of targeted strategies and concrete long-term action plans to drive implementation. The Macao Tourism Industry Development Master Plan, in a guiding role, balances the benefits and social impact of tourism on the economy and residents, achieving sustainable development of the tourism industry.

Following the presentation, members of the CDT made a number of comments and constructive suggestions, including how to stimulate the development of other sectors through the conventions and exhibitions industry, increase per capita visitor spending, legislative review, improvement facilities of border ports, diversification of hotel establishments, the boosting of maritime tourism and improving tourism products, among others.

Alexis Tam said that the Macao SAR Government has made every effort to promote the diversified development of Macao's tourism industry, reinforcing the expansion of the international visitor market, and continuing promotion abroad. With the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the launch of new hotels in the second half of the year, Macao's tourism industry will embrace even better development.

Four sub-taskforces discuss separate work reports

During the meeting, the four CDT sub-taskforces discussed separate work reports to advise on relevant topics. The Human Resource Sub-taskforce indicated that the human resources problem currently affects all sectors and industries in Macao, preventing the maintenance of the overall level of services and undermining the development of the diversified high-end segment of the economy in the long run, deserving the reflection of wider society.

The Tourism Market Management Sub-taskforce presented additional suggestions to MGTO for the Macao Tourism Awareness Campaign and the Community Tourism Development Plan, including inviting leading celebrities and bloggers to promote Macao, send messages via telecommunication companies about tourist information to visitors, and employ a dedicated official WeChat account to divulge details of events, among others initiatives.

The World Centre of Tourism and Leisure Research Sub-taskforce wants the government to establish a detailed timetable on the progress of work on urban planning, revitalization of historic buildings and old areas, as well as the strict monitoring of illegal taxi operation, in addition to the optimum use of the 85 square kilometres of Macao's maritime territory. It also proposes the organization of more events such as gastronomy, wine and food festivals, and night markets to boost tourism diversification.

The Transport, Infrastructure and Aviation Sub-taskforce looks forward to the progress of work on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and Wanzai Port, along with environmental suggestions for the optimization of the mode of passage at the border posts plus development of the economy of the ports of entry and exit.

The sub-taskforces also expressed the desire of various government departments to strengthen co-ordination plus definition and implementation of more policies to benefit the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in order to promote the sustainable development of Macao's tourism industry.

Alexis Tam thanked the sub-taskforces for their work and suggestions. He also remarked that CDT members effectively reflected problems of Macao tourism and brainstormed countermeasures that are of high referential value in promoting Macao tourism.