Engaging travellers through films and sports

Films and sporting events serve as powerful promotional tools as they showcase a city’s attractions in a new light and act as gateways to the locals’ way of life.

The 2017 Macau International Film Festival and Awards’ glamorous red carpet.

The 2017 Macau International Film Festival and Awards’ glamorous red carpet.

The 2017 Macau International Film Festival and Awards’ glamorous red carpet.

Film locations can be veritable visitor magnets as movie buffs often want to see for real the locations that captured their imaginations in shows.

Since HBO launched the massively hit TV series, Game of Thrones, in 2011, throngs of die-hard fans have flocked to the Croatian city of Dubrovnik to catch a glimpse of capital city King’s Landing, which featured heavily throughout the show’s seven seasons.

Closer to home, the impact of Korean dramas on tourism has been so significant that it has led to the establishment of ‘Hallyu’ tours, thanks to the airing of shows such as ‘My Love from the Star’, which also inspired the unconventional pairing of ice-cold beer and fried chicken.

Destination blockbusters

The Venetian Macao was one of the shooting locations for “Now You See Me 2: The Second Act”.

The Venetian Macao was one of the shooting locations for “Now You See Me 2: The Second Act”.

The Venetian Macao was one of the shooting locations for “Now You See Me 2: The Second Act”.

Having built a powerful reputation as a luxury metropolis for gaming and entertainment, Macau is widely regarded as the ‘Vegas or Monte Carlo of the East’. But the city also offers a uniquely beautiful blend of East-meets-West architecture and culture that makes it a filmmaker’s dream.

From ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ in 1974, the ninth entry in the James Bond series, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 1984, Johnny English Reborn 2011 to the star-studded ‘Now You See Me 2: The Second Act’ in 2016 featuring the likes of Morgan Freeman, Daniel Radcliffe and Mark Ruffalo, Macau has served as the backdrop for many iconic movies.

Travel agents can tap on this trend by offering curated tours exhibiting popular film locations. Not only would this resonate with movie buffs, repeated visitors will be enthralled by the possibility of seeing the attractions in a brand new light.

Now screening: what’s on the cultural calendar

Another great way to leverage on the film effect is by timing travel with one of the city’s biggest cultural events.

A star-studded event that will appeal to film fanatics and movie buffs.

A star-studded event that will appeal to film fanatics and movie buffs.

A star-studded event that will appeal to film fanatics and movie buffs.

Held in December, the third Macau International Film Festival and Awards (IFFAM) will see various premieres taking place around the city, some of which are opened to the public. Millennials and film fanatics can catch a glimpse of their favourite director or actor on the red carpet and – if they are lucky – score a selfie for their Instagram.

 Just a stone’s throw away from the Cotai Strip is hidden gem, Taipa Village, which offers an authentic slice of Macau. (Credit: KeongDaGreat/Getty Images)

Just a stone’s throw away from the Cotai Strip is hidden gem, Taipa Village, which offers an authentic slice of Macau. (Credit: KeongDaGreat/Getty Images)

Just a stone’s throw away from the Cotai Strip is hidden gem, Taipa Village, which offers an authentic slice of Macau. (Credit: KeongDaGreat/Getty Images)

Agents can take the opportunity to market to these customer segments, while adding value to travellers’ experience by packaging visits to the city’s bountiful cultural landmarks including the Church of St. Paul’s Ruins, Taipa Village, Senado Square and A-Ma temple.

Get a run for your money

Taking part in a marathon abroad is one unique way to uncover a city.

Taking part in a marathon abroad is one unique way to uncover a city.

Taking part in a marathon abroad is one unique way to uncover a city.

Besides exploring a city through films, travellers can also uncover a city in an unconvenional and equally entertaining way during a marathon.

In fact, sports tourism has been on the rise globally for quite some time, with fitness buffs choosing travel destinations based on race calendars rather than seasons.

During the Macau Galaxy Entertainment International Marathon in early December, runners will undoubtedly see the city at a new angle, as they race past landmarks, soaking in the atmosphere at an accelerated pace. However, this does not need to be a solo affair. Get the kids involved by setting up a sightseeing itinerary that parallels the marathon, giving them a dose of culture while cheering mum or dad while they race.

Athleisure itineraries can appeal to avid travellers who are also running enthusiasts.

Athleisure itineraries can appeal to avid travellers who are alsorunning enthusiasts.

Athleisure itineraries can appeal to avid travellers who are alsorunning enthusiasts.

For free and independent (FIT), consider compiling ‘athleisure’ itineraries, letting runners experience local life beyond the racetrack. For the adrenaline junkie, pair the marathon with the world’s highest, death-defying bungee jump from Macau Tower. Let foodies refuel on local cuisine, treating them to the much-famed egg tarts or the savoury qualities of a pork chop bun.

Online travel agents (OTAs) and tours and activities aggregators could bundle these experiences in one neat little package, so travellers can feel confident in knowing they are getting the most out of their time in the city, according to their unique lifestyle tastes.

Instagram-worthy moments inspire wanderlust

Macao Light Festival takes place throughout December and offers plenty of Instagrammable opportunities.

Macao Light Festival takes place throughout December and offers plentyof Instagrammable opportunities.

Macao Light Festival takes place throughout December and offers plentyof Instagrammable opportunities.

Whether it’s through film or races, what travellers are ultimately looking for these days is organic, local and unusual experiences that are more reflective of a destination’s heritage and history. Spates of millennial (and younger) travellers seek out trip inspiration by scouring through social media, and unlocking the lesser-known corners of a city is one way to cultivate that content.

See Macau in a different light – literally.

See Macau in a different light – literally.

See Macau in a different light – literally.

Another great way to do so is during the Macao Light Festival in December. Now in its fourth year, the event features projection mapping shows and interactive games across various neighbourhoods that highlight Macau’s East-meets-West culture and tell nostalgic tales of its people.

Dazzling lights abound at the Macao Light Festival.

Dazzling lights abound at the Macao Light Festival.

Dazzling lights abound at the Macao Light Festival.

Best part? There will be endless displays of scintillating and colourful lights that will undoubtedly serve as perfect Instagrammable moments. After all, who wouldn’t appreciate beautiful photos to remember their trip by?

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