Macau’s remarkable renaissance

Galaxy Entertainment Group's Joey Pather believes that Macau holds immense business events potential, and business diversification will help boost the destination’s profile even further

Macau’s business diversity ambitions for non-gaming/gaming stand at 60/40

Recovery or reinvention, Macau is certainly hitting its stride as visitor numbers, hotel occupancy and revenues start to climb in 2023. Macau, the world’s gaming capital, again exceeds all growth predictions.

With forecasts suggesting a riveting surge in visitor levels by 2024, the city has set very ambitious targets for the business events and live event sectors by 2028. The business events sector is set to grow by 60 per cent year-on-year.

What does this mean for event suppliers in the destination?

Controversial as this might sound, event suppliers are arguably pivotal to the success of the events, more than most think. Suppliers are just one of many stakeholders and these unsung heroes meticulously curate experiences that leave lasting impressions. Yet, their role often goes unnoticed and without them together with a sustainable infrastructure events would be almost impossible to host. Even with the proximity to the Mainland, importing services and labour come with costs and risks, not to mention the protocol and hurdles that surround the process.

Creating the best sound and lighting experience at a concert, flawless decor at a gala event, or seamless logistic management at a conference would not be possible without our event suppliers.

Their impact goes beyond events, every success serves as a promotion of the the destination, directly boosting its reputation and appeal. To all event suppliers, it’s time to take centrestage and own your role in the destination’s success. To the industry leaders and stakeholders, it’s time to acknowledge these behind-the-scenes wizards. The recent Taylor Swift tour was a testament to how valuable she believed her service providers were by gifting them huge bonuses.

The past few months have seen the Cotai strip bustling with activities, where business events and live shows are aplenty, with between six to 10 events taking place over one weekend. This excludes all social events that so many of us tend to forget. These, in many instances, are not recorded in our destination data. Post-pandemic travellers are being greeted with some of the region’s best live acts, cultural events and business events.

As someone who has been involved in the events industry in Macau, there are obstacles that might hinder the recovery pace and growth – hotel room viability, transport shortages and controls, infrastructure deficits, lack of connectivity, airlift and a shortage of skilled personnel to cater to international groups.

Macau is on a resurgence trajectory but with a twist – a diversified revival. Fuelling this push is the support from local and Mainland China governments, accelerating the recovery speed. Business diversity is key and how we execute will be the billion-dollar question.

Still, let’s not forget that the process is complex, layered, and challenging. Reinventing a destination that is known for its gaming around the world was never going to be easy, requiring push and commitment from all involved. It’s about investing in the community, not just physical infrastructure. Create a hospitality culture for those who drive the buses, serve the tourists, and are involved in every aspect of the concerts.

Macau has great potential to create an exceptional local workforce to elevate the city’s offerings. Yet, this is only possible if we realise – Macau’s strength lies not just in its grand casino resorts and gaming tables but also in its people.

There are some great examples in the world of destinations that have reinvented themselves by building sustainable business models that will create ongoing legacies.

It’s time we brought diversification to the forefront. By diversifying the business, we can develop a plan with incremental goals, all working towards an end goal.

Witnessing the transformation of Macau’s gaming and hospitality industry is one of the most amazing development trajectories I have experienced in my career.

Joey Pather is the senior vice president at Galaxy Entertainment Group.

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