For decades, Macau has been known as the “Las Vegas of the East,” drawing in millions of visitors yearly to its glitzy casinos and opulent resorts.
To promote Macau as a destination for tourism events, the Macau government has partnered with the six most prominent casino operators in the city, known as the Big Six, with a mission to diversify Macau’s economy with a $14.9 billion investment over a decade, focusing 90% of its might on non-gambling efforts.
This partnership focuses on hosting internationally recognized sporting events such as basketball, volleyball, table tennis, and marathon running to attract more domestic and foreign visitors to the city.
Some Big Six operators have properties and sales offices overseas, giving them an advantage in attracting international tourists. However, the tax incentive scheme for foreign tourists will encourage all casino operators to look beyond the Chinese market for more opportunities.
How Can Macau Diversify?
Macau’s government has announced plans to reduce the economy’s dependence on gambling to 50% by 2023, and diversification efforts have been a critical focus for the city’s tourism industry. The economy had to survive the pandemic and the availability of online casinos – which, as this article shows, are great but no replacement for the in-person buzz of a real venue.
Macau is still here, but the future has to be in diversification. In this article, we will explore some key sectors that Macau can focus on to promote economic growth and diversify the tourism industry.
- MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) Tourism
Macau has established itself as a hub for MICE tourism, thanks to its modern infrastructure and world-class convention centers. With a growing demand for corporate and business events, Macau is well-positioned to attract more international events and conferences.
The city has several state-of-the-art convention centers, including the Venetian Macao, which boasts the largest convention center in Asia, and the Macao International Trade and Investment Fair (MIF), which attracts businesses worldwide.
To boost MICE tourism further, Macau’s tourism industry can collaborate with local businesses and institutions to develop more events that cater to specific industries. For example, Macau can target technology companies and host tech summits and conferences to attract professionals worldwide. By establishing itself as a destination for niche events, Macau can increase its share of the MICE tourism market and attract visitors beyond the traditional gambling crowd.
- Entertainment and Shows
Macau’s entertainment and shows sector has been growing steadily in recent years. The city is already home to world-renowned performances such as Cirque du Soleil, and resident shows such as the House of Dancing Water. By expanding its offerings, Macau can attract more international acts to perform in the city and attract a diverse range of visitors.
Macau can host international film festivals and other cultural events to promote the entertainment sector further. With the city’s rich cultural heritage, it can also organize local festivals celebrating its traditions and history, attracting visitors who want to experience Macau’s unique culture.
- Themed Amusements
Macau has several theme parks, including the famous Studio City and the Sands Cotai Central. Macau can expand its offerings of theme parks, water parks, and other attractions to attract more families with children. The city can also collaborate with local and international brands to create exciting and innovative theme parks and attractions.
- Gastronomy Tourism
Macau’s unique blend of Portuguese and Chinese cuisine has been a draw for foodies for years. To promote gastronomy tourism, Macau can organize food and wine festivals, cooking classes, and culinary tours that showcase the city’s unique dining culture.
Macau can also collaborate with local chefs and restaurants to develop and promote new dishes internationally, increasing the city’s visibility as a culinary destination.
- Health and Wellness Tourism
Macau’s luxury spa resorts and wellness centers offer a range of treatments and services that attract visitors seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. Macau can collaborate with local businesses to create wellness retreats and yoga and meditation centers to promote health and wellness tourism further.
Macau has several luxury spa resorts, including the Banyan Tree and the Mandarin Oriental, that offer a range of wellness services and treatments.
To promote wellness tourism, Macau could expand its offerings to include yoga retreats, meditation classes, and other wellness-focused activities. It could also promote its natural hot springs and other outdoor wellness experiences.
Macau has several natural and cultural heritage sites, including the Guia Fortress, the A-Ma Temple, and the Coloane Trail. To promote eco-tourism, Macau can develop sustainable tourism practices that preserve its natural and cultural heritage while also providing visitors with unique experiences.
The city can organize nature walks and hikes, cultural tours, and conservation programs that raise awareness of the importance of preserving Macau.
Macau Has a Long Journey Ahead of It
Macau’s diversification efforts are critical to its long-term economic sustainability. It is already making significant progress in expanding its tourism offerings beyond gambling, with initiatives such as the partnership with the Big Six operators and the focus on MICE tourism, entertainment and shows, themed amusements, gastronomy tourism, health and wellness tourism, and eco-tourism.
By capitalizing on its unique cultural heritage, modern infrastructure, and world-class hospitality, Macau is well-positioned to become a top destination for global tourism.