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Macao’s tourism industry grows rapidly in 2002

Macao’s tourism industry scored another leap in 2002, buoyed by the huge influx of China’s inlanders…

Macao’s tourism industry scored another leap in 2002, buoyed by the huge influx of China’s inlanders.

The Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China saw 10.46 million tourist arrivals in the first 11 months of the year, outnumbering the whole year of 2001.

Hong Kong remained the largest tourist source for Macao in the 11-month period, bringing in 4.68 million visitors, but the figure dipped 1.5 percent per annum. China’s inland was catching up quickly, with tourists from there now making up 36 percent of the total. And Taiwan tourists ranked the 3rd place in number, reaching 13.6 percent of the total.

In November, inland tourists soared 56 percent per annum, exceeding Hong Kong tourists for the first time in number, figures show.

More importantly, the inlanders’ per capita money spending in Macao nearly doubled the average for all visitors.

Industry insiders note that the city’s tourism business has benefited greatly from a sharp rise of travel agencies allowed by the China National Tourism Administration to manage the SAR-bound tours. Since Macao returned to the motherland three years ago, more and more inland Chinese have satisfied their wishes to take a look at the new SAR, known as Monte Carlo in the East.

According to statistics, Macao received 9.16 million tourists in the year 2000, and the figure hit a record of more than ten million — 10.27 million — in 2001.

Macao with its roughly 450 years of history boasts a blend of the cultures of the East and West, which are exposed in local architecture, living style, traditions and food, a big attraction for visitors.

In an effort to make tourists stay longer, Macao has been involved in building new tourist spots while preserving ancient relics such as Ruins of St. Paul Church and the A-ma Temple.

A sightseeing tower higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, for example, has opened to visitors. Soaring 338 meters above the city, it enables sightseers to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the heart of Macao, the Pearl River and even some islands of Hong Kong in a clear day.

Work on the Fisherman’s Wharf, which is designed to house buildings of different countries, imitated volcanoes and other scenic spots, is well under way.

After liberalization of the gambling industry, three winners of new casino licenses have pledged to inject, in the near future, billions of dollars in Macao to build theme hotels and facilities for gambling, sightseeing and leisure-seeking purpose.

Macao has also decided to build the third cross-sea bridge between its peninsula and Taipa Island.

In addition, the SAR government is building the city into a MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) location, which will draw more business travelers to the city. Macao now offers a wide variety of meeting venues.

In the past few years, the Macao Government Tourist Office held various tourism promotions worldwide, including Hong Kong and China’s inland. It plans to exert greater efforts to expand visitor sources.

As a major engine for the economy, tourism and gaming industry accounts for more than 50 percent of the SAR’s gross domestic product and employs about 40 percent of its population.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.