Macau, China, 11 Jan – Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) Director Joao Costa Antunes acknowledged Tuesday that there was “still much to do” to raise the quality of the local tourism industry.
Costa Antunes made the remark on the sidelines of a press conference at Macau Tower about the industry’s developments last year and MGTO’s plans for this year and beyond.
According to The Macau Post Daily today, veteran tourism chief said he would like to see local hotels and restaurants improve their quality, adding that a soon-to-be established task force would try to tackle the “most immediate” quality issues, such as bottlenecks affecting the local tourism industry’s development – including transport problems and access to the city.
According to Costa Antunes, the task force will also start work on a comprehensive tourism development plan.
Costa Antunes said he believed that Macau should continue to operate two main ferry terminals, one in the peninsula and the other in Cotai (apparently referring to the future terminal in Pac On that lies in Taipa). He called for better interdepartmental co-ordination in improving the ferry terminals’ services.
Costa Antunes also said that this year his office would focus on attracting more tourists from Dubai and Russia, which would include the waiver of visa requirements for Russian tourists, such as in Hong Kong and the mainland.
Currently, Russian tourists need to pay 100 patacas to obtain a visa on arrival in Macau . Many other nationalities are granted visa-free access.
The MGTO director also said that the government would encourage the opening of budget hotels and continue clamping down on illegal inns and so-called zero-fee package tours from the mainland.
Meanwhile, during the press conference Costa Antunes announced that Macau logged a record 28 million visitor arrivals last year, up 12.2 percent year-on-year.
Visitors from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong accounted for some 89 percent of Macau ’s total number of visitor arrivals last year, up 13.5 percent year-on-year. Mainlanders alone accounted for 57 percent of all visitor arrivals. The number of foreign visitor arrivals rose 2.2 percent to nearly three million last year.
Some 13 million visitors stayed overnight in Macau last year, a year-on-year growth of 8.4 percent.
Currently, Macau has 65 hotels and 32 inns, with a total of 23,222 guest rooms.(MacauNews/Tourism)