IAG April 2015 - page 8

inside
asiangaming
April2015
8
Feature
In Focus
It’sbeen lucrative forMacau toput somanyeggs in themainland
basket but not necessarily prudent, Ms Mendoza, a Macau-based
marketing consultant, contends. “Historically Macau’s reliance on
China has always been risky,” she says, noting that the mainland’s
yearlongcutbackonvisas toMacau frommid-2008, coupledwith the
global economic slump, hit Macau’s economy hard. “Less reliance
ononemajor economic feeder tome sounds like a healthier path to
growth in long-termbusiness and economic development.”
The dangers to Macau’s economic health of relying on the
mainland became apparent again as gaming revenue fell for the
first time since liberalization last year to $43.9 billion amidBeijing’s
crackdown on graft and undocumented fund outflows. In the longer
run, Chinese travelers’ increasing sophistication and thirst formore
unique experiences, particularly at the high end, plus increased
regional gaming options seem destined to reduce their visits to
Macau. In a report issued in January, CLSA estimates the 2014-20
compoundannual growth rate formainlandarrivals toMacauat 9%,
less thanhalf thebrokerage’sgrowth forecast forNorthAsia,Western
Europe andAustralasia, thoughdouble the rate forHongKong.
In addition to reducing risk, drawing a broader spectrum of
visitors can make Macau a more attractive destination, Macau
Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) Assistant Professor IpKin
Anthony Wong says. “It helps to diversify tourist experience and
tourism products: Mainland Chinese have a strong preference
for gaming and shopping. We do want to attract tourists who are
also interested in other aspects of Macau: culture, food, event,
sightseeing and heritage.”
“This year, MGTOwill continue to explore international markets
while developing different visitor segments within amarket so as to
diversify our visitor sources,” the government agency says. “Given
the great potential of the Asian markets in the tourism industry,
MGTOwill allocate greater efforts in developing the Asianmarkets
in this year.”
Theconventionsegment,classifiedunderMICE—formeetings,
incentives, conventions and exhibitions—was supposed to be a
key to diversification in terms of both non-gaming revenue and
broader geographic reach. MICE helped transform Las Vegas into
a more multifaceted destination and lift non-gaming revenue to
nearly two-thirds of total revenue, but it’s yet to conjure similar
magic inMacau.
Mainlandershave fueled
Macau’s shoppingboom; even
with lastyear’spullback, their
MOP1,078per capita shopping
spendingdoubled thatofany
othergroup.Collectively,
mainlandvisitorsaccounted for
33.8%ofMacau’s total retail
spending lastyear.
In the longerrun,
Chinese travelers’
increasing
sophisticationand
thirst formore
uniqueexperiences,
particularlyat
thehighend, plus
increasedregional
gamingoptions seem
destined toreduce
theirvisits toMacau.
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