Macau, China, 8 Jun – Despite the forthcoming change of the chief executive, the political scene in Macau will remain fairly stable according to the June report released by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The EIU said that “the new administration will have a hard task in regaining public confidence, and, to that end, one of its priorities will be to rid itself of any taint of corruption”.
The report also noted that 52-year-old Fernando Chui Sai On, Macau’s secretary for social affairs and culture, is now viewed as the most likely successor to the territory’s present chief executive, Edmund Ho Hau Wah.
“On announcing his candidacy, Mr. Chui said that if he was successful in his bid he would focus his efforts on fighting corruption,” said the EIU report.
According to the same document, the “government’s future policy direction will remain unclear until Mr Ho’s successor is revealed. The Chinese government could take the occasion of the appointment of a new chief executive to grant new or renewed support to Macau, possibly through the relaxation of recently tightened visa restrictions on mainland Chinese wishing to travel to the city”.
The EIU report also indicated that “although Macau’s long-term growth outlook remains bright, the short-term outlook has become less certain owing to the halting of construction on several major casino resorts in the wake of the global credit crisis and the tightening of the Chinese government’s visa restrictions on mainland Chinese wishing to visit the city”.
“Given that investment and casino revenue are both forecast to continue to decline, real GDP in 2009 also looks set to contract,” according to the EIU.
The report also mentioned that “a series of economic growth spurts since 2004 have coincided with the unveiling of new tourism attractions and casino resorts in Macau, and there will now be a longer wait for several of those new attractions”.
The document said that “however, this could be a welcome pause, as Macau has been straining under the load of the visitor influx and the city now has the opportunity to address infrastructure bottlenecks”.
The EIU also mentioned that “Macau remains primarily a day-trip market that is reliant on gambling. Recently unveiled non-gaming attractions, including sprawling retail malls, high-end restaurants and international concerts, have been met with weak demand”.
In a positive note the EIU report said that “non-gaming revenue makes up a mere 5% of casino-resort revenue in Macau, compared with 50% in Las Vegas in the US, but the string of new properties set to open in the next 18 months have clear potential to bring Macau closer to the Las Vegas model. Thus, another driver of growth will be the rise of more diversified leisure and business tourism in the city”.