Crafting tourism opportunities through art

With international arts tourism experiencing a sharp rise, agents can tap on the growth to cater to art lovers of all ages.

Destinations and tours that encourage a deeper appreciation of the stories behind the canvas stand to capture travellers who are hungry for inspiration.

As travellers continue to seek more immersive experiences, more meaningful encounters and deeper cultural connections in the places they visit, it’s only natural that they’re turning to arts and cultural experiences that shine a light into the very heart of a destination.

So it’s no surprise that international arts tourism has been growing at a higher rate than overall international tourism over the last five years. From street fairs and pop-up art installations to concerts, theatrical performances and special museum exhibits, travellers can connect with residents and the very heart and soul of a destination—and create meaningful experiences that go far beyond simply visiting the most iconic sites.

Macau’s Summer of Art

Long recognised as one of Asia’s most culturally significant destinations, the former Portuguese enclave of Macau is home to a thriving arts scene forged by both European and Asian influences. Throw into the mix world-class luxury hotels and great cuisine, and Macau becomes the complete package for art enthusiasts.

Travellers can kick off an awe-inspiring art journey with Art Macao, the five-month art extravaganza from June to October. While big-name historic artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo are reason enough for travellers to hop on the next flight or ferry to Macau, the event will feature an impressive 52 drawings by 42 Italian Renaissance masters and nearly 90 masterpieces by contemporary artists. Best of all, these priceless works of art can be admired—for free—in the Macao Museum of Art, the largest space dedicated to visual arts in Macau.

Renowned artist Caroline Cheng has been commissioned by Sands China to curate an exhibition of ceramics.

Renowned artist Caroline Cheng has been commissioned by Sands China to curate an exhibition of ceramics.

Renowned artist Caroline Cheng has been commissioned by Sands China to curate an exhibition of ceramics.

But fine, and fun, art doesn’t just live in museums. Macau’s hotels feature their own treasure troves of prized historic art pieces and contemporary works that can be explored via guided tours. Among the highlights: complimentary exhibitions at Macau’s major integrated resorts such as Galaxy Macau’s exhibition featuring Hollywood actress-turned-Monaco royalty Grace Kelly, and Sands China’s exhibition of beautiful ceramics. 

Macau's year-round calendar of arts programmes provide a diverse range of family-friendly arts experiences for travellers of all ages and interests.

Macau's year-round calendar of arts programmes provide a diverse range of family-friendly arts experiences for travellers of all ages and interests.

Macau's year-round calendar of arts programmes provide a diverse range of family-friendly arts experiences for travellers of all ages and interests.

Art for All Ages

Beyond its sophisticated nightlife and high-octane entertainment scene, Macau offers diverse family-friendly arts opportunities that encourage travellers of all ages and interests to connect with the city in fresh new ways.

Together with the main Art Macao exhibition beginning in June, special themed events will take place throughout the summer—visitors can dive into a wide range of arts, from musical concerts to dance performances to sculpture, and even street art from Macanese and global artists.

Many of these accessible events will offer a window into Macau’s unique Chinese-Portuguese heritage and culture. For example, families can enjoy free concert performances by the Macao Chinese Orchestra in venues such as the Macao Museum of Art, or appreciate a Brahms’ Double Concert put up by the established Macao Orchestra. And through the first-time introduction of 3D printing and technology, visitors with visual impairments will be able to have a tactile experience.

Macau’s hidden jewels await travellers, who can explore it on a treasure-hunt style walking tour. (Credit: josephmok/Getty Images)

Macau’s hidden jewels await travellers, who can explore it on a treasure-hunt style walking tour. (Credit: josephmok/Getty Images)

Macau’s hidden jewels await travellers, who can explore it on a treasure-hunt style walking tour. (Credit: josephmok/Getty Images)

City of culture

It’s not just in official venues that travellers will find enticing arts and culture—recommend that travellers also take to the streets, both for escorted outings and the joy that comes with stumbling upon a hidden jewel while exploring. Want to take it to the next level? Suggest a treasure-hunt style walking tour for extra fun and local insights.

Public spaces such as parks, squares and heritage buildings come alive with free interactive installations, making it easy to incorporate interesting pit stops in walking tours. Recommend a stroll around Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, which features ‘Love Road’, a high-tech thematic trail that offers opportunities for travellers to check in on social media at various spots splashed with cool and colourful displays.

Macau’s network of streets is also a trove of intriguing historic gems, from meticulously preserved churches and cathedrals to shophouses and craft stores. In fact, the city’s compact size and accessibility also means agents can easily integrate several choice arts, heritage and cultural spots into walking tours that offer the best of its Chinese-Portuguese heritage.

From culture to gastronomy and the arts, Macau has carved out distinctive tourism niches that help brand it as a world-class city with plenty of unique experiences. As it launches into a vibrant calendar of arts and culture events over the coming months, there’s no better time to highlight its many wonders to travellers.

Macao Government Tourism Office

This article is brought to you by Macao Government Tourism Office.