IAG FEBRUARY 2016 - page 11

Cover Story
service offerings to maintain relevance with what this new Macau
tourist will be seeking.”
“Right now Macau as a whole may have a branding issue,” Mr
Cavender says. “It really isn’t seen as a hot destination for younger
consumers, and thoseare theconsumerswhoarespendingon travel
right now.” He says, “The challenge here is still moving beyond the
image of hard core gambling as this isn’t necessarily what younger
middle class consumersare looking for.Macauhasabsolutely added
more attractions for non-gamblers or casual gamblers to enjoy, but
there is still room togo.”
For today’s Macau, it’s still “hard to compete for consumer
time andmoney when they have somany other destinations that
they are interested in,” Mr Cavender says. “As consumers look
at traveling to new destinations, they are also considering Korea,
Singapore, the Philippines, markets that offer a lot more besides
“Singapore, Korea, and Taiwan have done excellent jobs in
promoting the destinations by having an assortment of leisure
and entertainment options catering toChinese visitors,”MrWong
says. “SingaporeandKoreabothhavecasinos, and theyhavebetter
shopping options thanMacau. Their food variety and authenticity
are excellent. These places are also rich in sightseeing options
and entertainment activities. Taiwan will pose a genuine threat
to Macau’s market once it opens up casinos,” a prospect that
may have become more remote with the Democratic Progressive
Party winning lastmonth’s presidential election. (Beijing has said
it won’t allow mainlanders to travel to Taiwan for casinos, and
the DPP is considered less friendly to Beijing than the outgoing
Kuomintang party.) New integrated resorts will helpmakeMacau
more attractive to travelers, Mr Wong says, but beyond casino
facilities, the city remains “reluctant to add new tourism facilities
and activities.”
“Like it or not, Macau must go the way of previous gaming
destinations like Las Vegas anddevelop a quality destinationbrand
campaign that reaches out and stimulates not only the Chinese
market, but those throughout Asia as well,” Mr Wieners says.
“Macau must work to drive the mass markets of other inbound
locations, Southeast Asia, Korea, Japan. When the bulk of Asian
markets begin coming toMacau
, the Chinese consumers
will follow.”
Mr Wong also sees Las Vegas providing “the best model” for
Macau. “LasVegas isno longer justSinCityandahardcoregambling
leisure activities: shopping, shows and entertainment, exhibitions,
golfing, dining, andmuchmore, all at affordableprices.
“The key here is scale,” Mr Wong says, but he doubts pint-
sized Macau can match the breadth and depth of attractions in
Las Vegas, which began with a vast blank desert canvas. “Macau
is too crowded for mass tourism. It is not even pleasant to walk
around the city, amajor problem that inhibits tourists fromstaying
longer. With the soaring cost associated with service operations,
Chinese touristswill soon realize –maybe they have already – that
it may not be worth visiting Macau unless the city makes major
improvements to its tourism infrastructures and facilities. With
such a small piece of land, I don’t thinkMacauwill ever be able to
solve this problem.”
But asUS$23billionof newoperator investment rollsout,Macau
may never have a better opportunity to reinvent itself yet again. It’s
not just about attracting the middle class but making Macau the
world center for tourism and leisure that government authorities say
theywant. That wouldbe anewnormal worthwith a visit.
“Like itornot,Macaumustgo theway
ofpreviousgamingdestinations likeLas
brand campaign that reachesoutand
stimulatesnotonly theChinesemarket,
but those throughoutAsiaaswell.”
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