2017-10-18 22:33

Let’s join hands to make the cake bigger for all: Macao tourism chief

By Duan Ting

Collaboration among cities within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is all about putting the strengths together to go out promoting themselves and eventually bringing in visitors, said Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the Macao Government Tourism Office.

Speaking at the China Daily Roundtable at the Global Tourism Economy Forum in Macao on Tuesday, she said Macao has always been trying to work together with its neighbors, even since 1993. And, this year, Macao has been involved in joint tourism promotion efforts in Southeast Asia along with the Hong Kong SAR, Guangdong and Fujian provinces and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

“Such collaboration will continue,” Fernandes said. “And, our aim is to use the Greater Bay Area as a platform to better promote ourselves. Together, we can really go out as a collective force, especially along the Belt and Road Initiative regions, to bring in clients and make the cake bigger so that everybody can have a bigger slice.”

In terms of how to collaborate under the bay area framework, she said that, in future, they will not only work at the government level, but also develop the private sector, including helping enterprises sell more products.

The Greater Bay Area is critical strategy for Macao, allowing the cities to put their strengths together to become an entire brand catering to visitors’ various tastes, Fernandes said. For visitors, she pointed out, collaboration will enable them to have more choices for destinations and give them the experience they can have.

She also believes that Macao’s management rights over marine areas designated by the central government will allow the city to develop marine tourism, which will be another highlight for the tourism industry within the bay area.

In terms of the city’s strategic development, Macao is transforming itself from a gaming center into an integrated business and leisure tourism hub. Macao has always been a place where East meets West so, on one hand, it will continue to leverage its position as a world center of tourism and leisure as well as a trade platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, and on the other, it will contribute to the Greater Bay Area through Macao’s strengths, Fernandes said.

“In future, we expect to attract more high-yield visitors rather than depending on the number of visitors, and keep visitors longer in town to see the city and spend money.”

Macao signed a strategic partnership deal with Chinese mainland tech giant Alibaba in August this year in a bid to help the city become one of the leading smart cities in the Asia Pacific.

Fernandes said the Macao government is in the midst of discussing with Alibaba how they can use new technologies, including building a big data base, to change Macao people’s perceptions and get more information for customers to enhance their experience in promoting Macao.