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Macau’s MICE industry held back by mainland access difficulties

Thursday, 16 November 2017 06:29
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The Chairman of MGS Entertainment Show organizer the Macau Gaming Equipment Manufacturers Association, Mr Jay Chun, says Macau’s MICE industry continues to be hampered by poor mainland China access.

The comments were made during an interview with Inside Asian Gaming at the MGS Entertainment Show – which is celebrating its 5th anniversary at the Venetian Macau this week – on Wednesday. Asked about the primary challenges facing the city’s MICE industry, Mr Chun said, “I think for Macau there are two things. One is that mainland access is not easy, particularly for senior officials to travel to Macau. I think this is a big problem.

“The other, which is similar, is that if you want to bring an exhibitor and their guests to Macau and then take them back to the mainland it is very, very difficult to clear customs.

“These are some of the main problems.”

The Macau government currently offers certain subsidies to organizers of MICE events with the aim of enhancing the competitiveness of Macau’s MICE industry.

Under the terms of the Convention and Exhibition Stimulation Programme, which came into effect in February, qualifying MICE events are entitled to a 10% subsidy on accommodation expenses for a maximum of five nights; MOP$300 in food and beverage expenses for each participant; a fixed amount grant of HK$1,200, HK$4,000 or HK$7,000 for keynote speakers and delegation heads from Hong Kong, mainland China and Asia or outside of Asia respectively; 50% of marketing costs up to MOP$100,000; a maximum MOP$80,000 in transport costs such as the hiring of shuttle buses; and a maximum MOP$200,000 for event management fees of local organizers.

However, tight restrictions on access from mainland China, particularly since the Central Government ramped up its anti-graft campaign in 2013, continue to limit the growth of MICE in Macau, according to Mr Chun.

He added that the problem could be aided by closer direct cooperation between the Chinese government and organizers of individual events, but said he expected the process to be easier for MGS in 2018 after gaining “official listing” as a UFI Approved Event. China also holds an official role on the board of the MGEMA through the Economic Affairs Department of the PRC’s Liaison Office in Macau.

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