Destination Macau

A destination of such diverse attractions and opposing extremes, Macau can be enjoyed by a wide range of tourist types. Emily Millett uncovers how it is working to keep each market entertained.

Home to one of tourism’s most clashing juxtapositions, Macau is one part charmingly quaint, ex-Portuguese colony, and one part dazzling neon-lit casino metropolis. These two vastly contrasting facets make for double the potential feeder markets, yet with the array of development projects and high profile openings such as the recent unveiling of JW Marriott Hotel Macau and The Ritz-Carlton, Macau, can supply stay ahead of the demand?

“The upcoming new hotel openings have changed the dynamics of supply and demand and prices are falling,” commented general manager, Grand Coloane Resort, Malcolm McLauchlan. “We are adjusting our client mix to counter this trend and reviewing our cost structures to ensure the best yield we can.”

IBTM China 2019

“Our client mix mirrors that of Macau as a whole with the majority of our arrivals coming from southern China, 12-15 per cent from Hong Kong, and a balance from other areas,” he added.

A MIXED BAG

Macau as a whole is experiencing something of an influx of travellers from new previously untapped markets, as general manager, Banyan Tree Macau, Jerry John explained: “Recently, we have a lot more non-Chinese guests. This is because we have increased the availability of the hotels in Macau with more affordable prices. We are seeing more international tourists including from the Middle East and North Africa.”

Already making contacts with various travel agencies in the Middle East and Europe, Banyan Tree Macau is making its rooms accessible to these new markets, as John explained: “It is in our interest to continue developing these markets outside China and North Asia. All these markets normally come first to Hong Kong and then take another one hour ferry ride to Macau. We are now working with travel agencies in Hong Kong to offer Macau as a ‘stop-over’ destination for those guests who visit Hong Kong.”

The Middle Eastern tourist is emerging as a significant new player, with hotels such as Grand Coloane Resort and Conrad Macao, Cotai Central adapting their product to further attract this market segment.

“We are seeing opportunities to cater to both the Middle Eastern and the Sub-continental markets. As a result, late last year, we became the only fully Halal-certified hotel in Macau and are beginning to see a positive outcome of this decision,” explained McLauchlan.

General manager, Conrad Macao, Cotai Central, Bede Barry added: “Accommodating a global mix of clientele can be perceived to be challenging at times, however, Conrad Macao, Cotai Central frequently offers localised packages geared towards different clientele across the globe including the Middle East.”

Commenting on the efforts at Mandarin Oriental, Macau, director of marketing and communications, Ada Chio de la Cruz said: “Our main feeder markets include China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Japan, but we have also been targeting travellers from the Middle East, the US and Europe. The Middle East has always been one of the markets that the hotel wants to explore. The hotel will satisfy these guests’ needs with its lifestyle packages, personalised dining experiences and tailor made offers.”

COVERING ALL BASES

Another tactic currently being implemented by Macau’s tourism industry, is the increase of non-gaming entertainment and inclusive packages that are expected to further lure families and cultural tourists.

Talking to TTG about the shifting perspective of tourism in Macau, Barry said: “Macau itself has become a cultural centre and a heritage destination. It is extremely important for Macau to evolve towards becoming a final destination with multiple offerings, instead of being seen as a stopover for tourists within the region.”

“As part of Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao, guests who stay at Conrad Macao can enjoy an extensive range of entertainment shows from around the world, catering to both families and leisure travellers. Guests are now looking for a choice of options when they come to Macau as part of an integrated resort we can also offer our guests a vast array of hotel choices, over 650 duty-free stores offering luxury and lifestyle brands from around the world; as well as more than 50 international and local restaurants all under the one resort,” he added.

Part of the Galaxy Macau development, Banyan Tree Macau can avail of the wealth of facilities and services available at the fully integrated resort, as John said: “Much of the business is still gaming related, but moving forward, we would like to showcase all the non-gaming attributes and try to attract families and leisure travellers. Phase two of Galaxy Macau is providing our guests access to over 200 stores in the new shopping mall, as well as Broadway Macau. The Broadway Theatre is also a truly unique venue for conferences.”

MICE ENTERTAINMENT

Meanwhile, according to statistics from the Macau government, in the third quarter of 2014, 240 MICE events were held in the destination, marking an increase of 14 per cent compared to 2013.

Director of sales and marketing, Grand Hyatt Macau, Vanessa Chow said that revenue from exhibitions in the third quarter was up 81 per cent year-on-year, and exhibition revenue in the first nine months of the year was up 94 per cent.

“We believe the prospect for MICE business in 2015 will be bright in Macau. [The destination] remains one of Asia’s newest and most exciting MICE destinations with a great deal to offer in terms of lifestyle, dining, family entertainment and luxurious hotels and resorts,” commented Chow.

Unveiling much to dazzle a varied pool of visitors, Macau’s tourism stakeholders are entertaining a number of fresh ideas.