International travel may be restricted for now, but Macau’s travel players have been working in close collaboration to showcase its rich and diverse offerings, turning to creative strategies that look to ensure that the destination remains top of mind for travellers when they are ready to visit again.
In June, the SAR launched Macao Ready Go!, a dedicated travel e-platform featuring exclusive F&B, hotel staycation, retail, entertainment and tour offers, enticing the local market to enjoy a mini holiday at home.
“Based on our hotel performance analysis, consumer demographic has shifted a little from international business to local staycations, [since travellers get] to enjoy leisure activities within short distances with various promotion packages,” said Hans Loontiens, Market Vice President Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Hainan at Marriott International.
Zeroing into this trend, Travel Weekly Asia outlines what makes Macau’s newest 25 local-itineraries stand out from the norm, and how travel agents can use these reinvented experiences as fresh ways to sell Macau when travel opens up again.
1. Recapture tourists with out-of-the-box ideas
A definite bestseller: teamLab SuperNature Macao, now a permanent feature at Sands China.
How should an attraction sell a well-established product to ignite interest and motivation among new and repeat visitors alike?
Macau’s answer: Presenting the destination in uniquely different angles the world has yet to see.
Take City of Dreams, for instance. The new tourism experience brings participants on a behind-the-scenes tour of their signature bestseller: House of Dancing Water – to learn the inner workings of the production’s fancy waterworks, theatrical drama and stunning visual effects happening backstage.
Other eye-openers that’s never been done: visiting the Macau Power Station and Light Rail Transit depot in Cotai, viewing/touring private jets parked at the airport, and seeing the city from above with helicopter rides – with the lattermost completely booked out once it was launched, said MGTO.
Plus, the SAR is always finding fresh inspiration to inject novelty for the local market, welcoming ideas from international travel agents on ways to elevate Macau’s tourism scene.
One great example is the June launch of the highly anticipated teamLab SuperNature Macao, now a permanent fixture in Sands China. Featuring immersesive, cutting-edge art installations in a colossal 3D space, visitors can colour fish on paper and then instantly see them swim in the ocean before their eyes, or see digital flowers bloom around an actual ice-cream set on the table.
2. Engaging different crowds: multi-generational and private groups
Waterplay at Galaxy Macau’s Grand Resort Deck: Macau offers a compelling mix of educational, sensory play and thrilling activities for travellers young and old.
As markets reopen, one of the shifts in consumer attitudes is how travellers are leaning more towards family, smaller group travel and private tours, according to a post-Covid travel sentiment study by Tripadvisor.
Macau, with its diverse entertainment options ranging from the traditional to the modern, is perfectly positioned for engaging these travellers.
Engage young, inquisitive minds by picking itineraries offering stops at compelling educational spots, such as the Macao Science Center or the State Key Laboratory of Lunar and Planetary Science. Let the wizened pass on practical know-hows to the younger generation at the Ecological Trail Garden of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, and for heritage buffs a visit to the Tak Seng On Pawnshop should be in order to understand Macau’s pawnbroking history.
At Fisherman’s Wharf VR Zone, youngsters and adventure-seekers can immerse in virtual reality fun through such adrenaline-pumping thrills as Mario Kart Arcade GP, Hospital Escape Terror and Ski Rodeo. Studio City Macau’s Legend Heroes Park is another virtual reality heaven, with the top highlight being DC Comics’ first Batman 4D flight simulation ride at the West Wing.
For all-round family fun, Galaxy Macau’s Grand Resort Deck is a hot favourite – think 75,000sqm of water play that includes not only the world’s longest Skytop Aquatic Adventure River Ride spanning 575m, but also a myriad of slides, geysers and dedicated kids’ aquatic zone. Grown-ups often choose to chill the day away at the Integrated Resorts’ Pool Bar at JW Marriott, or Cabana at Banyan Tree Macau.
Exploring Macau through hands-on experiences
Macao Ready Go!’s 25 value-for-money tours provide a wonderful mix of experiential travel elements to engage today’s social-media driven audience.
Experiential travel remains as important as ever for travellers in the post-Covid world – as long as safety precautions are firmly in place.
Air Macau’s itinerary offers budding aviation dreamers aged five to 18 years old the chance to meet real-life pilots and crew, fiddle with flight consoles, and go behind-the-scenes to discover what operations is like at the control tower.
Eating is an essential experience for visitors to the city, which is why Macao Ready Go! platform also has a dedicated Dining tab for foodies. Under the Local Tours tab, Grand Lisboa’s Macau Jockey Club itinerary offers dining credits to be used at the Integrated Resort’s restaurants, including The 8 Restaurant – Macau’s first and only Chinese restaurant awarded with three Michelin stars – or one Michelin-starred steakhouse The Kitchen.
For a hands-on experience, the app’s tour itineraries also feature lunch stops at local establishments and serve up ample opportunities to join in the process of salted fish production and Portuguese dessert making workshops.
Ultimately, collaborating with local vendors not only delivers fresh tourism experiences, but also drives footfall and stimulates businesses to the communities involved, making it a win-win situation for all.
For ongoing updates and fresh inspiration on how you can regroup clients towards Macau, visit www.macaotourism.gov.mo.
This article is brought to you by Macao Government Tourism Office.