The Tourism Development Committee (CDT, from its Portuguese acronym) convened the second Plenary Meeting of 2021 on 12 November. The meeting of the CDT saw members voice various opinions and offer suggestions on tourism development, the industry’s recovery and the economy.
During the Plenary Meeting, Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) said it will strive to foster tourism recovery and development by implementing four major goals next year: to expand the spectrum of visitor sources, foster community tourism and economy, deepen “tourism +” integration, and strengthen regional cooperation.
The meeting was presided over by Macao SAR Government Secretary for Economy and Finance and CDT Chairperson, Lei Wai Nong. He told the meeting the COVID-19 pandemic had taken a toll upon the city’s tourism industry and economy. With prudent and optimal use of financial resources, the Macao SAR Government had launched a number of measures with the aim of supporting local businesses, safeguarding employment and maintaining social stability, he added.
Secretary Lei Wai Nong said he hoped that the travel trade could align with the work of the Macao SAR Government on implementing the Master Plan of the Development of the Guangdong-Macao In-depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin. These efforts include the development and promotion of island tours, Traditional Chinese medicine wellness tours, distinctive Hengqin and Macao itineraries, and the development of “tourism + MICE” and “tourism + sports” integration.
Four major work goals
MGTO Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes told the meeting that the Office would forge ahead with tasks under four major work goals:
1. Expand the spectrum of visitor sources to revive the tourism and service industries. This task includes promoting Macao as a safe and quality destination through different channels and attracting visitors by creating innovative travel experiences.
2. Stimulate community economy by launching the second stage of the specialised subsidy programmes for “Gastronomic culture promotion”, “Maritime tourism” and ” Tourism Industry Training”. This task also entails adjusting the Quality Tourism Services Accreditation Scheme (QTSAS), and producing promotional videos highlighting major travel attractions and cultural elements in Macao.
3. Deepen cross-sector integration of “tourism +” and foster quality tourism development. Efforts here will deepen integration across specific fields, such as “tourism + MICE”, “tourism + sports”, “tourism + e-commerce” and “tourism + culture and creativity”. The Office will steer the tourism industry towards quality development.
4. Deepen regional cooperation, namely with Hengqin and across the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Despite the temporary impact on visitor arrivals from September until early November caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, visitor numbers rebounded quickly once travel restrictions were eased – facilitated by MGTO’s promotional campaigns.
The data show a clear increase in visitor arrivals in recent months: average daily visitor arrivals between 20 October and 10 November reached 25,168, up by 20% compared with the average daily number of visitors in September.
The data also indicate that arrivals of Mainland visitors aged between 15 and 24 had trended steadily upwards in the first nine months of 2021. Given the frequency of travel among this age group, MGTO has adopted precision marketing strategies utilising social media to target this market and to enhance destination promotion.
Since the reinstatement of travel permit issuance for Mainland residents to Macao in September 2020, MGTO has delivered an array of ongoing promotions, both online and offline.
As well as “Macao Week” events in different Mainland provinces and cities, the Office launched a range of special offers and invited key opinion leaders (KOLs) from the Mainland to experience Macao and promote the destination on their platforms.
MGTO has been promoting the mega events and activities scheduled for November and December, including the Macao Light Festival 2021 and the Light up Macao Drone Gala. The Office is collaborating with community organisations to roll out the “Tour Macao FUN Fair” events, which aim to draw more residents and visitors into local communities from now until early next year.
Among topics raised by CDT members at November’s meeting were deepening the development of “tourism+” with MICE, gastronomy and sports; and the development of facilities for the Guangdong-Macao In-depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin.
Also discussed were smart tourism, marketing strategies, preferential measures, greater promotion of social media check-in spots, training, extending the length of visitors’ stay, issuance of travel permits for Mainland visitors to Macao, and the Hong Kong market.