The inclusion of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) in the Macau SAR government’s economy and finance portfolio will trigger a collaboration with the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) to “promote MICE together and get MICE business to Macau,” said MGTO Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes on Wednesday.
“Everybody is looking at the MICE market very differently now. There are new protocols and we have various MICE associations in Macau coming up with new ideas as to how they should keep events safe.”
Speaking at a France Macau Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Senna Fernandes noted that the MICE sector would be among those hardest hit by COVID-19 with a slow recovery expected – starting locally, gradually expanding to mainland China and eventually targeting global markets again.
Likewise, the MGTO – which is in the process of moving from Macau’s social and cultural affairs portfolio – is revisiting its Macao Tourism Industry Development Master Plan post-COVID, Senna Fernandes said, and will need to “sit together with tourism operators to look at how we should do business in the future and what sort of other contemplation they would like us to take into consideration going forward, as the China market will also behave a little bit differently than before.”
Despite the setbacks of 2020, the MGTO boss did seem to hint at an imminent return for the long-awaited Individual Visit Scheme following a further relaxing of border restrictions between Macau and Guangdong province this week.
Two weeks after Guangdong opened the doors for arrivals from Macau to return to any of nine cities within its borders, officials have now given the green light for residents and approved visitors to access the entire province.
The MGTO is “preparing for a very big campaign in China to get back visitors and chipping in with very big offers for them as well,” Senna Fernandes said.
“There seems to be very, very good signs coming out, and we hope to be able to have some more good news soon.”