Macau’s inbound MICE sector is bearing collateral damage from Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, as corporate groups that typically twin Hong Kong with Macau choose to avoid both destinations for fear of travel and event disruptions.
Although the protests in the Special Administrative Region of China have taken a peaceful turn on Sunday, after months of rallies â€“ with some escalating into violent clashes with the police â€“ the change has come a little too late for some destination specialists.
China International Travel Service (Macau), assistant general manager, Tina Lit, told TTGmice that business has been “seriously affected”.
“Clients usually twin Hong Kong and Macau in their programmes. We have received a lot of cancellations, especially for meetings from China and South-east Asia,” Lit said.
Lit lamented that the cancellations are not a “short-term impact”, as Macau-bound events as far out in December have also been scratched off her books. Affected events have group sizes of a few hundred to 1,000 people. To stem the damage, Lit said her company has started to package Macau with other destinations such as China’s Zhuhai, dropping Hong Kong entirely.
Over in Hong Kong, Faces of Hong Kong has also reported gloomy business. Managing director, Ivy Sung, said there have been “non-stop cancellations from clients due to protests and travel warnings issued by various governments abroad”.
“Even an event for 2022 has decided to change destination from Hong Kong to Singapore”, said Sung.
“For upcoming events, we are doing our best to keep them in Hong Kong by suggesting postponements,” she said, but added that her team also has to abide by clients’ wishes and offer assistance should the switch of host city to elsewhere in Asia be required.
Sung noted that event demand for Macau is hit too, as “we often include Macau for programmes to Hong Kong”.
Meanwhile, requests for updates from popular business event properties in Macau have been declined.