Engaging millennials?
Try experiential travel

As more travellers seek to return home from trips with something more than a photo album, here’s how to craft experience-based itineraries for next level travel in Macau.

Increasingly, the hottest souvenirs to bring home from a trip are enriching experiences, including joining the locals in major festivals and home visits alike. CREDIT: Macao Government Tourism UK Office

Increasingly, the hottest souvenirs to bring home from a trip are enriching experiences, including joining the locals in major festivals and home visits alike. CREDIT: Macao Government Tourism UK Office

Increasingly, the hottest souvenirs to bring home from a trip are enriching experiences, including joining the locals in major festivals and home visits alike. CREDIT: Macao Government Tourism UK Office

Today’s millennial traveller is empowered by technology, driven by a passion to experience beyond the ordinary, and more often than not likely to book a trip based on images they saw on their Instagram feeds.

Increasingly, the hottest souvenirs to bring home from a trip are enriching experiences: lasting memories or even skillsets they can share with friends, family – and definitely on social media, too.

With the new year just around the corner, it’s the perfect opportunity for travel agents to recommend fresh destinations to younger clients looking to embark on new and unique experiences.

Macau, for one, is a great place to soak in an exciting mix of specialised experiences, a lot of which, are freely accessible to all.

1. A taste for homegrown flavours

Macau is filled with Instagram worthy foodie moments, be it Michelin star experiences, street food escapades, or even egg tart-making classes. CREDIT: Broadway Macau; Galaxy Entertainment Group

Macau is filled with Instagram worthy foodie moments, be it Michelin star experiences, street food escapades, or even egg tart-making classes. CREDIT: Broadway Macau; Galaxy Entertainment Group

Macau is filled with Instagram worthy foodie moments, be it Michelin star experiences, street food escapades, or even egg tart-making classes. CREDIT: Broadway Macau; Galaxy Entertainment Group

More travellers are planning their holidays around food thanks to Instagram’s influence, which gives agents even more reason to build itineraries around Macau: a Creative City of Gastronomy and member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network since 2017.

With 19 Michelin-starred restaurants, it’s easy to get reservations for belly-satisfying meals any time in Macau ranging from three-starred Cantonese favourite Jade Dragon; two-Michelin-starred The Tasting Room; to two-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at Morpheus.

In November, there’s even a dedicated Macau Food Festival that will enter its 20th edition in 2020, a massive feasting extravaganza over two weeks featuring over 150 street stalls, friendly competitions and live entertainment.

For a communal experience or larger groups in town until end-February 2020, gift them the experience of Hot Pot Street – a melting pot of live seafood stations, beef and organic vegetables sourced worldwide, including favourites from Hunan, Guangdong, Thailand and Japan.

Today’s millennials are starting to value local experiences – so why not partner with Macau’s vendors who’ll expose your guests to wine-making afternoons, or food safaris and egg tart-making classes under the guidance of professionals, which may even include trips to the local produce market.

For guests who enjoy spontaneity, direct them to download the app from the Macao Government Tourism Office website to discover the city’s many pathways and dining options on foot, or they could simply follow the footsteps of other tourists before them to Instagram-worthy spots by searching the hashtag #ExperienceMacao.

From incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine, to sound therapy and sangria baths as part of treatments, spas in Macau offer a complete journey for the senses. CREDIT: Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Macau

From incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine, to sound therapy and sangria baths as part of treatments, spas in Macau offer a complete journey for the senses. CREDIT: Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Macau

From incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine, to sound therapy and sangria baths as part of treatments, spas in Macau offer a complete journey for the senses. CREDIT: Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Macau

2. Immersive wellness journeys

Forget run-of-the-mill treatments. Spas in Macau embrace wellness traditions with some offering truly unique experiences that will leave your guests feeling on cloud nine.

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental for instance incorporates Traditional Chinese Medicine, where full body massages use slightly heated Chinese meditation bolls that are rolled across the body to ease muscle tensions. Tria Spa at MGM Macau is the only place that offers So Sound Therapy, where guests lay on a bed that uses vibrational oscillations and penetrating sound to relieve stress.

For something fun, Iridium Spa at St Regis Macao requests guests to fill out a “gemstone questionnaire”, where the stones’ mineral qualities are said to deliver an enhanced physiological effect. If guests are up for it, Spa at Grand Lapa Macau offers a sangria bath in an outdoor whirlpool, plus a drinking glass of sangria too.

To complete the day’s wellness journey, plot for your guests a meal at one of Macau’s many restaurants which increasingly focus on sustainability practices and paring down on food wastage – while still whipping up delicious creations. There’s Dragon Portuguese Restaurant, noodles and congee at Wong Kun Sio Kung restaurant, Indian fares at The Golden Peacock, the impossible meat at The Apron Oyster Bar & Grill, and more.

3. Off-the-beaten track adventures

It’s an Instagrammer’s dream at Rua da Felicidade, where Chinese-style former brothels turned souvenir shops in signature blue-grey bricks and red-tiled roofs offer the perfect photo backdrop. CREDIT: Macao Government Tourism Office

It’s an Instagrammer’s dream at Rua da Felicidade, where Chinese-style former brothels turned souvenir shops in signature blue-grey bricks and red-tiled roofs offer the perfect photo backdrop. CREDIT: Macao Government Tourism Office

It’s an Instagrammer’s dream at Rua da Felicidade, where Chinese-style former brothels turned souvenir shops in signature blue-grey bricks and red-tiled roofs offer the perfect photo backdrop. CREDIT: Macao Government Tourism Office

Just as there are travellers who book trips based on their friend’s social media feeds, there are also guests who wish to be the first few on unchartered territory, and those who simply wish to appreciate a destination’s raw form away from crowds.

The good news is that Macau boasts scenic lookouts and spots at every turn, such as the head-turning Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. Apart from being an engineering feat and transport giant between the cities, the structure is also beautiful to behold when evening arrives.

For a panoramic view over Macau, send aspiring photographers to the Nam Van and Sai Van Lakes, anchored by the Macao Tower. For street vibes reminiscent of Macau’s Portuguese colony days, head to Rua da Felicidade, where Chinese-style former brothels turned souvenir shops in signature blue-grey bricks and red-tiled roofs offer the perfect photo backdrop.

To engage in some action, every June sees the exciting cheers and adrenaline rush at the Dragon Boat Festival, and for motoring enthusiasts, the annual FIA Formula 3 World Cup in November should not be missed!

For families with kids in tow, Coloane’s known as Macau’s green belt, lined with splendid nature trails. Plan their itinerary to include Seac Pai Van Park, home to the 3,000sqm Macau Giant Panda Pavilion, which also organises hands-on workshops every month end. December’s theme is “Merry Garden”, where participants can design their own mini garden using eco-friendly ornaments.

4. Making a cultural statement

Macau hosts plenty of time-honoured traditions and festivals, making it extremely easy to have a taste of local culture, such as at New Year’s eve celebrations here from Macao Tower. CREDIT: Macao Government Tourism UK Office

Macau hosts plenty of time-honoured traditions and festivals, making it extremely easy to have a taste of local culture, such as at New Year’s eve celebrations here from Macao Tower. CREDIT: Macao Government Tourism UK Office

Macau hosts plenty of time-honoured traditions and festivals, making it extremely easy to have a taste of local culture, such as at New Year’s eve celebrations here from Macao Tower. CREDIT: Macao Government Tourism UK Office

Macau hosts plenty of time-honoured traditions and festivals, which happen throughout the year, making it easy to slot international travellers in for a taste of all things local.

January kicks off celebrations for Chinese New Year with an annual parade; April sees mesmerising Chinese opera performances during the Feast of Pak Tai; there’s never a dull night with the Macao International Fireworks Display Contest happening in September; and not forgetting the annual International Film Festival & Awards Macao in December.

More on local roots, Taipa Village Cultural Association – tasked to preserve the heritage of one of Macau’s coolest and charming quarters – together with Mandarin Oriental, Macau will present ‘My Merry X’mas! Taipa Village Christmas Fair’ pop-up, offering Christmas confectionery, art and handicraft by native talents and more interactive activities.

Finally, to ring in 2020, it’s back to the city’s iconic Macau Tower as the sky lights up with fireworks on New Year’s Eve. The entire display happens for just five minutes so advise guests to go early, or make their way to other popular viewing points like the top of Penha Hill, Macao Science Center, or by the lakeside at Nam Van.

Macao Government Tourism Office

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