The government aims to merge the tourism industry with other sectors to boost Macau’s tourism and economic development
As reported by Macau Daily Times, the Galaxy International Convention Center (GICC), constructed to stimulate the government’s “Tourism + MICE” incentive, is expected to launch in the second half of 2021 due to construction delays from the pandemic.
Joey Pather, senior vice president of MICE operations and sales for the group’s new resort, said, “we are talking about how MICE can be a big focus area [for Macau’s tourism] this year. We are not just seeing MICE as MICE, but what MICE does for the whole business [world].”
MICE represents Macao’s convention and exhibition industry, the city’s fastest-growing emerging sectors in recent years.
Lei Wai Nong, Secretary for Economy and Finance, first announced in November 2020 that the government would strive for the “Tourism+” idea in 2021. “Tourism+” is a strategic focus aimed to merge the tourism industry with other sectors such as MICE, as well as culture, e-commerce, and sports, in hopes to boost Macau’s tourism and economy.
Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), confirmed at an annual briefing that Tourism+ cross-sector integration would be one of MGTO’s top five work goals in 2021.
Galaxy Entertainment Group announced that the GICC was initially bound to open in H1 2021, but the unexpected pandemic delayed construction progress by another half-year.
Pather mentioned, “obviously, we had a few delays with COVID-19 in terms of construction, but we made up a lot of time.”
The GICC is estimated to be an HKD9 billion (USD1.1 billion) project, featuring facilities, such as a 650-seat auditorium, 4,000 square metre conference hall, and a vast 10,000-metre pillar-less exhibition space.
As stated by the ‘International Meetings Market 2019 Report’ by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Macau shot up to 48th highest-ranked city for the number of meetings held in 2019. In the Asia Pacific region, Macau was ranked 12th, up 5 places year-on-year.
However, Hong Kong still held a significant lead, ranking 22nd globally for MICE events and 7th in the Asia Pacific region.
Pather believes that the addition of GICC to Macau’s MICE events is a world-class facility that “will definitely give Hong Kong a run for the venue.”
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