Macau faces up to competition

MACAU is pulling out the stops to promote itself to both consumers and the travel trade, as other neighbouring destinations up the ante on their own marketing campaigns.

Between July 14 and 19, the Experience Macau roadshow made various stops across South-east Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Over 20 representatives from Macau’s tourism sector including airlines, travel agencies, venues and hotels participated in the trip, which was targeted chiefly at the trade.

Charles Leong, general manager, MGTO Singapore, said stiff competition from Singapore’s two integrated resorts was a key challenge for Macau.

“The novelty of (Singapore’s) integrated resorts has diluted some traffic from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and to some extent, Hong Kong. However, it is to be seen if the novelty factor will decline with time,” he said.

To compete against neighbouring destinations, Macau is working closely with mainland China authorities as well as the travel trade across East and South-east Asia to develop Macau’s tourism products, infrastructure and manpower.

Ceclia Tse, head of promotion & marketing department, said: “Collaboration and support from governments and the travel trade is vital to Macau’s future tourism development.”

Tse cited Macau’s recent framework agreement with Guangdong province as an example.

The deal, signed on March 7, sealed Guangdong and Macau’s commitment to jointly promote multi-destination tours and devise a mutually beneficial long-term tourism development strategy.

The strategy includes cooperation on a number of joint tourism projects encompassing niche segments such as medical, cruise and cultural tourism, as well as making it easier for Guangdong residents to visit Macau.

A similar pact is being discussed by Macau and Hong Kong.

According to Tse, MGTO’s next round of marketing initiatives will be targeted at key South-east Asian markets including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

The initiatives will focus on promoting Macau’s upcoming large-scale events such as its Grand Prix, the Macau International Fireworks Display Contest and the Macau International Music Festival.

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