Pansy Ho Chiu King, co-chairperson and executive director of MGM China Holdings, said on Tuesday that in order to diversify Macau’s tourism industry, it was “inevitable” for casino operators to hire non-local workers.
Ho made the remark on the sidelines of the Beijing-Macau Economic and Cultural Exchange Promotion Association’s (BMEPA) founding ceremony and swearing-in of the new group’s president, chairperson and chief supervisor at Macau Tower. Ho is the founding president of the association.
Ho said the association was set up to work alongside the central government’s “One Belt, One Road” framework for organising multinational economic development and to strengthen co-operation between Beijing and Macau, as well as to promote economic, cultural and other exchanges among the mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony, Ho said casino operators won’t be able to avoid hiring non-locals in the early stages of the diversification of Macau’s tourism sectors. She said that imported workers could bring in new elements quickly.
Ho said Macau must not close its doors to the outside and should not rely on trial and error for future development. Neither should Macau expect innovations to just happen if it wants to keep up its pace of development.
Ho said whether bringing in more non-local workers would negatively impact Macau depended on local people’s attitude towards the issue, adding that if locals are open-minded and take into account the city’s long-term benefits, they would see that it will be better for the city. Ho underlined the opening-up of the gaming sector to competition a decade ago as an example. She stressed that the new elements brought in from the outside would create new job opportunities for locals, and they also would allow Macau to stay competitive internationally.
Responding to legislator Antonio Ng Kuok Cheong’s request in February, the government’s Human Resources Office (GRH) published in April a report on the number of non-local workers hired by the city’s six gaming operators until end of last year. According to the report, about 26.5 percent of workers employed by the six operators were non-resident workers.
Ho also said she was not worried about the current dip in the gaming industry’s revenue, saying it was normal to see a decrease at this point. She added she believed that once the projects in Cotai are completed, Macau will see more visitors from other regions, which would take the gaming sector to its next stage.
Ho said the government’s upcoming mid-term evaluation of the gaming industry would be a good time for the six operators to bring in non-gaming attractions to attract new customers.
According to official data, Macau had 174,924 non-resident workers at the end of March, 65 percent of them mainlanders. (macaunews/macaupost)