In terms of tourism performance, the first half of 2023 brought positive news for Macao. Sharing stats with ETTravelWorld, the Director at Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes revealed that in the first half of 2023, Macao Tourism witnessed a positive recovery, with approximately 70 per cent of its market rebounding.
As per the local reports, in July 2023, Macao experienced a surge in visitor numbers, marking its highest monthly level since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, with an impressive total of 2.75 million visitors. Data provided by the Statistics and Census Service reveals that this figure for last month was an increase of 24.9 per cent compared to June.
To continue this momentum, Macao Tourism plans to extend its reach within the immediate international markets in the coming year, which also includes India.
“India hasn’t typically ranked in our top 10 source markets. Nevertheless, India has always intrigued us. We’ve hosted unique events like weddings and the IIFA awards as well as incentive groups, attracting a special group of Indian visitors. While the numbers may not have been massive, the Indian market’s diversity and potential are evident,” said Fernandes.
Following the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Macao acknowledges that it’s still in a rebuilding phase. The absence of direct flights to Macao has presented certain obstacles in recovering from the Indian market, added Fernandes. However, there is a strong sense of optimism for the future, she said.
“Macao is now back in business and open to international travel. We have high hopes that, with the gradual restoration of relationships and the resumption of various events, it will see a resurgence in Indian business,” she added, emphasising that the recently held PATA Travel Mart in Delhi, India was a cornerstone for Macao Tourism’s international market engagements.
To kickstart the resurgence, Macao also initiated steps like inviting Indian buyers to explore the destination during their travel fair in July. This approach not only featured business meetings but also included tours of Macao’s destinations. “Reciprocity is key, as Macao is also taking steps to reach out to India, creating a balanced partnership. While we are still taking the baby steps, it’s crucial for us to rebuild relationships that have been strained during this period and revitalise our business here in India,” asserted Fernandes.
Looking forward, Macao Tourism intends to engage with the Indian travel industry in several ways including participating in key marts and facilitating in-person business meetings. Their plan also involves collaborating with media partners to increase awareness about Macao and spark interest among the general public. “You have to create interest in the general public before travel agencies can sell products,” the Director emphasised. Regarding connectivity, discussions with Indian airlines are underway, as the Director clarified, “Our aviation authority is in discussions with various airlines, including Air India. Although it’s still early in the process, Macao recognises the importance of building these connections to expand its reach, acknowledging the gradual recovery of aviation and airport capacity worldwide,” she said. Currently, there are no direct airlines flying in between India and Macao.
Besides India, Macao is also eager to tap into new markets, with initial attention on Asian destinations like Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and more. The near future also holds the promise of a new air route to Jakarta, Indonesia, as Fernandes shared, adding that Macao Tourism recognises the potential of the Asian market due to its substantial population base.
The immediate future plan is also to explore European markets next year. Besides, Macao also hosted a familiarisation trip from the United States and Canada this year, signaling their keen interest to increase tourism inflow from key source markets post-pandemic.