Hong Kong’s weeks-long protests have had no impact on Macau’s tourism industry, acting Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director Cheng Wai Tong said on Tuesday, adding that the office has recorded a 20 per cent increase in visitor arrivals in the first half of this year, a figure that he said was set to keep rising.
According to official statistics, Macau’s number of visitor arrivals rose 20.6 per cent year-on-year to 20.28 million in the first six months of the year.
MGTO and the Consumer Council launched their joint “crossover” initiative of “Quality Tourism Services Accreditation Scheme” (QTSAS) and “Certified Shop Scheme” on Tuesday at the Macau Science Centre in Nape, extending the QTSAS to the local retail sector.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Cheng told reporters during the seminar that the Tourism Crisis Management Office (GGCT) has received a few enquiries from local citizens about Hong Kong’s situation. He advised locals planning to travel to Hong Kong to keep themselves posted on the latest developments there, adding that as Hong Kong is part of China, Macau does not issue travel warnings for any city in the nation.
According to the central government’s “one-China” policy, the nation comprises the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
Responding to media question about the ferry services between Macau and Sheung Wan being which were suspended twice this month due to clashes between protesters and the police in Sheung Wan, Cheng said that his office also received some enquiries from the public during the two suspension, adding that it updated tourists about the situation in Hong Kong at local ferry terminals on July 21 and last Sunday in order to help them readjust their travel plans.
The protests in Hong Kong are still going on, and it is hard to forecast their future impact, Cheng pointed out, adding that so far MGTO hasn’t received any feedback about a decrease in the number of tour groups from the local tourism sector. However, he admitted that tour agencies might adjust their holiday packages, such as organising joint Macau-Zhuhai tours instead of their Hong Kong-Macau tours.
Meanwhile, Consumer Council President Wong Hon Neng told reporters during the seminar that his council and MGTO have signed a cooperation agreement to launch a “crossover” between the “Certified Shop Scheme” and QTSAS, with the aim of increasing the overall service quality of the retail sector and also to promote honest business practices, as well as to strengthen their joint efforts towards transforming Macau into a world tourism and leisure centre.