Tourism planning in Macau

Macau’s gaming industry' emerged after 1975 and differed from the traditional Chinese gaming activities by including canine and horse racing and Western card table games along with traditional Chinese ones. The blossoming of the gaming business contributes not only to the visitor flow but also to the visitor expenditure. The positive impact of Macau’s gaming industry is undeniable on Macau’s fiscal situation given most of its manufacturing (e.g. fireworks, toys and clothing) is now defunct. Much of the funding for heritage conservation comes directly from the tax on gaming (du Cros 2009).

Macau has experienced a significant boom in its tourism and gaming industry since 2002, as a direct result of the liberalization of casino licensing and the implementation of the Chinese government’s new visa regulations in 2003, which permitted mainland Chinese from the People’s Republic of China to travel independently to Hong Kong and Macau under the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS). The tourism boom has generated significant economic benefits for the community. However, it has also created problems for them, such as overcrowding of public places, traffic congestion, an increasing crime rate, reduction of local services and pollution (du Cros 2007; Vong 2008; Kong and Wan 2011; Wan and Li 2013; Kong, du Cros and Ong 2015). On

24 October 2018, a bridge linking Macau to Hong Kong and Zhuhai was opened that will also add to the existing traffic congestion in Macau to an unknown extent at this point, although it is causing negative impacts in Hong Kong (Lam 2018).

The One Belt and One Road initiative of the Central Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Macau SAR government’s vision to become the ‘World Centre of Tourism and Leisure’ are expected to provide the local tourism industry with a new opportunity for more tourism development. In 2015, the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) initiated the ‘Macau Tourism Industry Development Master Plan’ (the Master Plan) project — the latest in series of master plans going back 20 years. The objective of the Master Plan is to build and manage Macau’s tourism economy and to provide a blueprint for the future development of Macau’s tourism industry over the next 15 years. Expertise for the masterplan was drawn from Australia, China and Macau. In this case, it appears the Master Plan seems to be dominated by consultants from the Australian gaming and hospitality sector. The Master Plan is the programme of actions for achieving the goal of the city becoming the World Center of Tourism and Leisure, the Macau SAR government’s overall vision for the city (MGTO 2017). The tourism is a pillar industry of Macau and its influence is very broad, touching many different areas including its people, enterprises, heritage conservation and the government (du Cros 2009).

Similar to the Yangon Heritage Strategy, the Tourism Master Plan provides a framework of objectives, strategies and action plans to be realized over short, medium and long term. However, it allows for some flexibility in response to external factors that affect tourist numbers. As travel preferences change, actions related to dynamic marketing and social media allows for fast identification and responses to opportunities and challenges. It is hoped that new security technologies adopted and a Smart Tourism Control Centre that will be set up will reduce unanticipated events and threats. The Master Plan aims to improve the resilience of Macau to cope with sudden incidents and overcome challenges (MGTO 2017).

Tourism, heritage planning and social responsibility

Meanwhile, heritage and gaming remain closely interconnected as the government uses one to pay for the conservation of the other, and promotes heritage attractions over gaming ones in its own marketing for a more balanced destination image. To evoke an image of social responsibility, ‘gambling’ has become ‘gaming’ (as in the United States) and casinos left to undertake their own promotions without much assistance from the public destination marketing authority, the Macau Government Tourism Office. Likewise, responsible gaming is promoted (as it is in Singapore and elsewhere in the region) as a way of trying to upgrade the image of city in the hope that that and its concentration on the new tagline ‘World Centre of Tourism and Leisure’ will encourage a broader range of tourists than just hardcore gamblers. Families, romantic couples and cultural tourists are segments that the Macau SAR government targets most heavily with its advertising. This is done in an effort not to be exposed to the vagaries of PRC controls on the IVS tourists from its side when the PRC feels it needs to keep such tourists from visiting Macau’s casinos (Kong, du Cros and Ong 2015).

Overall, Macau also shows that a range of internal and external factors have affected the narrative regarding its urban heritage and tourism planning (see Table 37.2).

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