Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said Tuesday she believes that in the next few years growth in the number of visitor arrivals will remain in single digits.
Senna Fernandes also said her bureau would continue to work hard to promote the city around the world.
The tourism chief made the remarks to the media after attending a cocktail reception hosted by Nam Kwong (Group) Co. Ltd. to mark the state-owned firm’s 65th anniversary.
Asked by reporters about the next few years’ expected growth in the number of visitor arrivals, Senna Fernandes said the government remained “prudently optimistic”.
“There are many external factors affecting [local] tourism such as infectious diseases…however, we are prudently optimistic [about growth in the number of visitors],” she said, adding, “Considering the current situation [it] will grow steadily but not at a high rate…[it] will remain around the single digit.”
The MGTO director also said she believes the city’s tourism carrying capacity can cope with the expected growth in the number of visitors in the next few years.
She also said her bureau would be more focused on convincing visitors to extend their stay. Currently, visitors’ average stay amounts to just one day, according to official data.
She declined to comment on speculation that her office will be moved from the government’s social affairs portfolio to the economy and finance portfolio when Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On starts his second five-year term on December 20.
Currently, the office comes under the Secretariat for Social Affairs and Culture. Early this week, Chui said he had heard some suggestions that the office should come under the Secretariat for Economy and Finance which already includes the tourism-related gaming industry
“We will go on with what we do…I think that [any possible change] will not affect the operation of the office itself,” she said.
According to official statistics, Macau recorded 18 million visitor arrivals and 6.2 million hotel guests in the first seven months, up eight percent and two percent year-on-year respectively. Mainlanders, Taiwanese and Hongkongers accounted for 91 percent of all visitor arrivals and 81 percent of the total number of hotel guests.(macaunews/macaupost)