The hybrid forum was co-organised by IFTM (Relying Unit of ‘Tourism Education and Training Base for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area’ and Coordinating Unit of ‘the Alliance for Developing Macao into the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Tourism Education and Training Base’ and China Tourism Academy (Data Centre for Ministry of Culture and Tourism). The content of the forum went into the opportunities in the development of the Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, especially the blending of Macao’s and Hengqin’s strengths in culture and tourism to propel the transformation of Macao into a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure.
To develop the in-depth cooperation zone and a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure, it does not only take the external evaluations of a city’s competent authorities and professional institutions into account, but also the number of tourists, revenue obtained, contributions to its economy, employment and the tourism resources supplied to the market that determine the value and positioning as a world centre of tourism and leisure. Non-economic fronts like culture, art, technology and innovation, etc. results in strengthening soft power and building a new image for cities which aim at becoming global leaders in tourism development.
Dr. Dai Bin, president of China Tourism Academy, indicated that the construction of Macao into a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure cannot leave aside the massive mainland market. According to the data on market structure in 2019, 72 percent of Macao’s overall tourism market comes from the mainland market which shows the power of the mainland market. ‘Even under the pandemic, it is never a matter for mainland tourists to travel to Macao. Hence, Macao is heavily dependent on tourism, over half of Macao’s economy is supported by travel and tourism. Thus, the Macao SAR should prioritise strategies and measures to attract more mainland tourists.’ Dr. Dai says.
‘We are currently exploring the pandemic control measures which are conducive to the mobility of people. Yet, more cooperation between the Mainland and Macao, such as the issue of juxtaposed controls at the borders, cooperation with Hengqin, etc. are still under discussion.’ Dr. Dai added.
Another invited speaker of the forum, Mr. Lei Hai Su, chairman of China Tourism Group Travel Services Corporation Limited expressed his gratitude towards the participation of the event which means a lot to Macao in the in-depth growth and development of the tourism sector. He says, ‘The Greater Bay Area is a place with blessing, especially for the current pandemic situation, the sphere of consumption has been narrowed. The surrounding targeted markets can be reached easily, which is comparatively a practical choice. Hence, we need to put the customer source and tourism resources to Macao’s advantage, so as to reinforce the interactions between Macao and the Greater Bay Area. The Macao SAR should make good use of the tourist resources of the Greater Bay Area to strengthen the cooperation between the two places. With the great support of the Central Government of the People’s Republic of China, the revival of the consumer market is coming ahead and this would undoubtedly give Macao’s tourism sector a big boost.
Besides, the pandemic acts as an opportunity to the tourism sector. Macao possesses excellent tourism resources, including the fundamental facilities driven by the gaming industry. ‘With the richness and excellence in resources, and most importantly holding high-level forums for professionals from the Greater Bay Area to share their past experiences and commitment to sustainability, it is not a challenging task to enhance a wider range of consumer groups and search for new market opportunities.’ Mr. Lei concluded.