Macao has developed itself with the “right infrastructure” and is becoming a “preferred destination” for visitors, Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF) Secretary-General and Vice Chairwoman Pansy Ho Chiu King said during a GTEF press conference at MGM Cotai Monday .
Ho, group executive chairperson of Shun Tak Holdings and co-chairperson of MGM China Holdings, made the comments when she was asked by a reporter how Macao could provide quality tourism as local streets are overcrowded and tourists find it difficult to walk around, after she had told the press conference that Macao was aiming for quality tourism
“When I go around, talk about the forum and invite people to come to visit Macao and, in fact, experience [Macao], to see for themselves the advancement of Macao over the past 20 some years, it’s really transforming itself,” Ho said in English.
“A lot of people who might have not visited Macao for some time or who might have never come to visit Macao… would have thought that Macao is just a casino town. If their interests [were] more on cultural things…then Macao would not have been on their agenda,” Ho said, adding that the city has already developed with the “right infrastructure” and was becoming a “preferred destination” for tourists.
“We have built a lot of hardware…since [the establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region in 1999], we have built new and modern facilities to couple with our heritage…these infrastructures are important because without these facilities, we would not have been able to see the capacity growth in terms of catering to more visitations,” Ho said.
“When we talk about culture, it should not be in fact just limited to a few architectural buildings or facilities. We should continue to work on how to utilise our cultural backdrop, and heritage influence,” Ho added.
Meanwhile, Ho, the daughter of nonagenarian gaming tycoon Stanley Ho Hung Sun, told reporters on the sidelines of the press conference that MGM was already in contact with the local government about the expiry of MGM Grand Paradise’s subconcession slated for 2020, when the gaming concession of SJM, which signed the subconcession deal with MGM in 2005, also expires. The city’s two other concessions (Wynn and Galaxy) and subconcessions (Melco and Sands) expire in 2022.
Ho said that it was preferable for all gaming concessions and subconcessions to expire at the same time.
Ho also said she hoped that the central government could look at Macao’s US-owned gaming companies as local examples of trustworthy business cooperation.
Three of Macao’s casino operators are US-owned: MGM, Wynn and Sands.
Meanwhile, according to figures released by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Macao recorded 895,242 visitor arrivals during the mainland’s seven-day Golden Week holiday, recording a year-on-year rise of 7.2 percent. About 734,000 visitor arrivals were from the mainland, with a year-on-year increase of 14 percent.