Driving tourism with festive buzz

How a memorable festival is a city’s secret ingredient to bring in the holiday crowd.

Fireworks Fireworks

A shot of the Macao International Fireworks Display Contest, which happens every year over the skies of Macau Tower Shorefront.

A shot of the Macao International Fireworks Display Contest, which happens every year over the skies of Macau Tower Shorefront.

There’s nothing better than visiting a destination during one of their annual festivals. Offering a spotlight on local culture and long-term traditions, festivals introduce the very soul of the destination to the visitor. Local communities and tourists bond, the city is showcased in a unique light and travellers have something exceptional to share on social media and when back home.

For a city that wants its visitors to keep coming back, highlighting festivals is a great way to go.

Have festivals, will travel

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The bustling Macau Food Festival happening in front of the iconic Macau Tower.

The bustling Macau Food Festival happening in front of the iconic Macau Tower.

Travellers these days want niche tourism experiences — just ask the millennials! While iconic sites within destinations themselves are almost always available (Macao’s Ruins of St. Paul's, for example, are not going anywhere) time-limited events and experiences, like festivals, feel a bit more exclusive and exciting.

Take the Macao International Fireworks Display Contest, which is happening from now until October 1, 2018. The event attracts thousands of spectators from around the world who gather around the Macau Tower, shorefront areas and hotels and bars with views, making it one of the most anticipated events on Macao’s calendar. Besides, who doesn’t like fireworks? The appeal is universal.

The power of social media

Caption: Power of Social Media

Social media and hash tags: both great ways to build a loyal community on the internet.

Social media and hash tags: both great ways to build a loyal community on the internet.

Festivals, when done right, are also beautifully photogenic. Millennial travellers — 59% of 18 to 29-year-olds use Instagram — are constantly seeking instagrammable moments during their vacations, meaning you can easily turn every festival-goer into an independent marketing machine.

For OTAs festivals are the perfect way to not only promote the city, but to build an online community of travellers around your brand. At the end of the day, whatever the event may be, as long as you can craft a specialised experience around the festival, you are halfway there.

The world-famous Macau Grand Prix, which is one of the most anticipated events on the calendar each year.

The world-famous Macau Grand Prix, which is one of the most anticipated events on the calendar each year.

The world-famous Macau Grand Prix, which is one of the most anticipated events on the calendar each year.

Spoilt for choice

It is easy to sell Macao’s festivals to travellers, since there are so many happening every year. Are your travellers into arts and culture? There’s the Macao Arts Festival. Or maybe they are into sports? Tell them about Macau Grand Prix or the Macao International Marathon.

For universal popularity the Macau Food Festival offers the perfect window into the city’s culture. Besides, the way to travellers’ hearts is through their stomachs, and Macao’s phenomenal Michelin restaurants and street food culture won UNESCO’s ‘Creative City of Gastronomy’ award in 2017.

Ruins of St. Paul's was officially listed as part of the Historic Centre of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in 2005.

Ruins of St. Paul's was officially listed as part of the Historic Centre of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in 2005.

Ruins of St. Paul's was officially listed as part of the Historic Centre of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in 2005.

It’s a win-win-win situation

Visitors to Macau stay on average just over a day, and festivals give visitors more reasons to stick around and explore the city further. They offer the perfect springboard for a city to feature other products, from the city’s spectacular new hotels and F&B establishments to the latest attractions and specialised tours.

A nightview of the Cotai strip

A nightview of the Cotai strip

A nightview of the Cotai strip

Better in Macau

Providing the perfect backdrop for visiting festivals in Macao is the city itself. At the heart of Asia its strategic location, international airport and upcoming Hong Kong-Macao-Zhuhai bridge makes it easily accessible to Hong Kong and mainland China. Visa-free for over 70 nationalities, this 30sqm city packs in world-class hotels offering flawless service in over 38,000 hotel rooms. Sticking around and falling in love with this vibrant, beautiful city has never been easier.

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