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Listed buildings can become hotels: bill

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Mon, 4th Feb 2019

 
The Executive Council has announced that the government has drafted a bill regulating the city’s hotel sector, which proposes that hotels will be allowed in heritage-protected buildings.
 
The bill also proposes to lower the minimum number of guestrooms in a hotel from 40 to 10.
 
Leong Heng Teng, spokesman for the government’s top advisory body, made the announcement during a press conference at Government Headquarters on Friday.
 
The government proposes that the bill replace a decree-law regulating the city’s hotel sector, promulgated in 1996. The bill needs to be passed by the legislature to become law.
 
According to the decree-law, hotels are ranked two-star, three-star, four-star or five-star. Apartment hotels are ranked three to four-star.
 
According to the decree-law, inns (“pensoes” in Portuguese) are ranked two- or three-star.
 
According to Leong, the bill proposes that the ranking of hotels and apartment hotels will remain unchanged. 
 
However, Leong said that the bill proposes less strict requirements – in terms of the facilities and services – for the operation of two-star hotels with the aim of facilitating the construction of such hotels, while the bill proposes stricter requirements for five-star hotels with the aim of increasing their service quality.
 
According to Leong, the bill proposes a new category of accommodation called low-cost lodging which would offer visitors the option to book a bed in a communal room.
Leong said that the proposal aimed to diversify tourists’ various accommodation options.
There have been complaints by visitors about the dearth of budget accommodation in Macau.
 
According to Leong, the bill proposes to abolish the “inn” category".
 
Concerning the existing inns, the bill proposes that two-star inns will be classified as a low-cost lodging while three-star inns will be classified as two-star hotels, according to Leong.

The bill also proposes that hotels will be allowed in buildings officially classified as cultural heritage, Leong said.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a public function yesterday, Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said that not all listed buildings in the city would be allowed to be converted into hotels.
 
Senna Fernandes said that the setting-up of a hotel in a listed building would have to be jointly approved by her office and the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC).

 
Senna Fernandes said that the bill would make it possible for some “suitable” heritage buildings to be converted into boutique hotels.