Macau sees positive return of tourism

Macau this week welcomed a tourism industry familiarization mission from Hong Kong – its first since the pandemic hit inbound tourism.

The two-day visit re-introduced 40 attendees to Macau’s top attractions and reconnected them with local tours and travel suppliers through a webinar on January 16.

Hong Kong travel agency revisits old and new attractions in Macau

Senna Fernandes, director of the Macau Government Tourist Office, said that Hong Kong is still the second largest tourist source for Macau, and the MGTO is launching a series of promotional plans and special offers to stimulate tourism.

From January 13, Macau will launch a three-month buy-one-get-one promotion on ferries and tour buses.

Access to Macau is improving, with two ferry operators starting services from Hong Kong to Macau. TurboJET is preparing to increase day and night services when the Macau Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal reopens on January 19.

The Civil Aviation Authority has approved Air Macau, as well as mainland and foreign operators, to resume flights and increase the frequency. AirAsia will start three weekly flights between Kuala Lumpur and Macau in February, while Sky Shuttle will operate eight daily flights to Hong Kong from January 16.

Avis Macau has also fully resumed its cross-border premium transfer service and has been promoting private boutique tours using its seven-seater vehicles.

More promotions for the Hong Kong market will be announced after the Chinese New Year.

Hui Ka-ling, chairperson of the Travel Industry Council (TIC) in Hong Kong, commended MGTO for taking swift action to rebuild Hong Kong’s traffic.

She believes that promotional offers will increase Hong Kong residents’ interest in Macau.

“It took less than 10 days for Macau to reach 50% of the pre-Covid visits (from Hong Kong). This is the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said, adding that more cooperation between the two cities will Complement each other’s travel promotions.

At the product launch, Zheng Weidong, deputy director of the tourism bureau, urged attendees to jointly create travel packages that include premium car rentals and authentic, tailor-made travel experiences.

A larger tourism industry familiarization tour, with 60 to 70 agents from Hong Kong, is scheduled to take place in February, Cheng added.

Rutger Verschuren, General Manager of Artyzen Grand Lapa Macau and Regional Vice President of Macau Operations, said: “It is great to see our friends in all areas of the tourism industry, the tourism board and the Parliament shift gears so quickly.

“We’re now on the perfect U-turn for a recovery – gaming tender angst is over, Lunar New Year is just around the corner, zero coronavirus and most restrictions are on hold. (It’s) been the green light all along, it seems.”

However, the tourism board’s Fernandez believes it will take time for international travelers to return as flights have not yet fully resumed. “More flights from Southeast Asia will be announced next month,” she said.

On January 14, the number of tourists in all markets in Macau exceeded 55,000, the highest single-day record. For the whole year of December 2022, the average daily tourist traffic in Macau is 12,909.

Fernandez said arrivals will continue to climb, with an average of 47,000 tourists expected during the upcoming seven-day Lunar New Year holiday.

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