Reopened borders and quarantine-free travel have facilitated a return in interest among China-based event planners looking to hold events and meetings in Macau.
Sands China’s vice president sales, Stephanie Tanpure, has reported seeing good traction from event organisers, with “solid RFPs” for 4Q, where group sizes are also considerably larger.
She said: “Quarantine-free entry is the first thing that event planners will consider, therefore the easing of travel restrictions is definitely a favourable factor in attracting groups. With reopened borders, it is easier to attract Mainland clients, especially those situated within a 1.5-hour radius from Macau, such as in the Greater Bay Area.”
Tanpure added that the resort “took the initiative to reach out to and keep in touch with China clients” throughout the pandemic, and held a total of 13 online events via its Smart Stage to promote Macau and its diverse offerings.
Earlier in June, Sands China unveiled Macau’s first hybrid meetings space, Smart Stage, at The Londoner Macao, an Extended Reality (XR) studio. And of all the six integrated resort operators in Macau, Sands Resorts Macau accounts for 85 per cent of the available event venues.
hOn a similarly positive note, Artyzen Hospitality Group, area vice president/Macau operations, Rutger Verschuren, told TTGmice: “Considering there will be an end to Covid at one stage, we do receive RFPs from organisers who want to be jump-ready once travel is no longer discouraged and restrictions are eased.
“However, group events require advance planning with site visits, and there have been many factors that have disrupted travelling for events. We hope that with the control of the Covid situation in our key feeder markets, and relaxed measures by the authorities, the situation will improve soon.”
During the pandemic, The Artyzen Grand Lapa took the opportunity to spruce up its contemporary Chinnery Ballroom good for 200 guests, as well as its adjoining Atelier function room, and is ready to welcome events back.
Aside from meetings and events, the Venetian Macao and Macau Fisherman’s Wharf are reportedly experiencing brisk business in the exhibitions sector.
According to Alan Ho, vice president of the Macau Convention and Exhibition Association, the event calendar is filled with exhibitions every week until the end of the year.
He explained: “Many exhibitions that were suspended during the pandemic were shifted to 4Q2022, such as the 10th Macao International Travel (Industry) Expo Tourism Expo that was rescheduled from July to September.”
New events like China (Macau) High-Quality Consumption Exhibition, and the Hengqin Global Bay Areas’ Forum, will also be debuting in late November.
Ho attributed the pick-up in exhibitions to the easing of visa policies, whereby Chinese business travellers saw there visas expedited when presenting an invitation letter issued by designated event organisers in Macau.
“From September 1, overseas visitors visiting Macau have also been granted a three-month multiple-entry visa, with a maximum of 30 days stay in Hengqin. This favours those who are planning to attend exhibitions and promote trade exchange in the region,” he added.