The Macao SAR Government has delivered a series of policies that aim to aid in the recovery of the integrated tourism and leisure sector over the remainder of this year. The announcement of the road to recovery was made by Macao Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng in his Policy Address for the Fiscal Year 2020, delivered on 20 April.
Ho Iat Seng said the Macao SAR Government would launch tourism incentive programmes once the COVID-19 pandemic was controlled. When appropriate, officials would approach the Central People’s Government and seek the resumption of permits for travel from Mainland China to Macao.
The Macao SAR Government will also open talks with authorities in Guangdong to relax the re-entry requirements that are applied to residents of the Mainland province after they visit Macao.
The Macao SAR Government will launch tourism activities tailored to Macao residents. These innovative ideas will include local tours and tours to Hengqin and neighbouring areas, as well as a greater number of events.
The Chief Executive also said the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) would be transferred to the portfolio of the Secretary for Economy and Finance, in order to promote synergies between public policy on tourism and other economic activities.
In his speech, Ho said the administration would be expediting the development of Macao as a world centre of tourism and leisure, complementing the positioning of Hengqin Island as a destination for international tourism and leisure. Hengqin is part of Guangdong Province, and the recovery measures include the joint development of tourism products to facilitate multi-destination travel in Macao and the adjacent province.
The development of Macao as a base for tourism education and training for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area would be a priority for the Macao SAR Government.
Revamping the roadmap
Answering questions in the Legislative Assembly on 4 May, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Ao Ieong U provided legislators with further detail regarding the Government’s tourism policies for the remainder of 2020.
The Government intends to commence a review of the Macao Tourism Industry Development Master Plan, she told lawmakers. The review would ensure Macao stayed abreast of changes in the tourism environment and developments in the industry, including those related to the impact brought by the pandemic. The plan was introduced in 2017 and has the goal of positioning Macao as a world centre of tourism and leisure.
Through its tourism information exchange platform, MGTO will expand the scope of its project to curate tourism-related “big data”. The evolution of the project will further enable the travel trade to share and use more of this resource. In addition, there is a project to integrate the content from existing digital applications for mobile phones in a “one-stop” application for travel in Macao.
Some other existing initiatives will be accelerated and driven forward. The Government wants to further the development of the city as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, and will work to promote cultural exchanges and cooperation with other UNESCO Creative Cities. The construction of a database on Macanese cuisine will be speeded up and is slated to be made available online later this year. It features recipes, educational videos and other promotional materials.
The Macao Grand Prix Museum is preparing for a re-opening in the second half of this year following a major revamp. The venue will include a selection of multimedia and interactive facilities offering unique experiences to visitors. Through MGTO, the Government will also continue endorsing the development of maritime attractions for tourists.
Secretary Ao Ieong said the Government plans to promote sports tourism once the COVID-19 pandemic was under control. The goal is to organise a series of international sports events in the city at a rate of one a month.