The travel industry may have come to a standstill due to the coronavirus, but destinations with firmer control over the situation, such as Macau, are pushing forward with plans for the future.
“Macau’s handling of the epidemic has been a boon for residents’ morale and for the city’s reputation. The most important factor in our success is that our society is united and working together…[and] with the support of the Central Government and the SAR Government, we believe we will be back on track when…group tours resume,” said Mr Buddy Lam, senior VP of Public Relations, Galaxy Entertainment Group.
That time is now.
Working hand-in-hand with Macau’s travel trade partners, the SAR has launched a dedicated e-platform packed with local-focused deals and fresh tour itineraries, and is already crafting more of such plans for the coming months. Travel Weekly Asia details the how, what and when.
1. Back to business: Macao Ready Go
Pent-up consumer demand for domestic travel is primed as the first to rebound, says travel platform Tripadvisor, who recently published a study analysing consumer travel sentiments, and tips from industry experts, in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Already anticipating this trend, the SAR on 17 June launched Macao Ready Go!, an e-platform offering exclusive promotions across F&B, hotel staycations, retail, entertainment and tours – so it’s akin to a mini holiday at home.
Entertainment deals reach out to all demographics: virtual reality games at Studio City Macau’s Legend Heroes Park for thrill seekers, direct discounts or free add-ons at spas for a relaxing treat, and entertainment rewards for kids at City of Dreams.
For those interested in heading outdoors after months at home, they can check out the e-platform’s ‘Community-based’ and ‘Leisure’ tours. Consisting 15 local tour itineraries running until 30 September, these have in fact proven so popular that agents reported 3,100 sign-ups on launch day itself.
The Macao Special Administrative Region Government hopes that the project “Macao Ready Go! E – Platform” together with the local tours can lead to progressive resumption of tourism activities in Macao in parallel with the city’s scheme for economic recovery.
2. Always something new to experience, entertain, explore
Sands China’s teamLab SuperNature Macao: Hotels are rolling out massive deals and activities, with all safety and sanitisation measures fully in place. Photo Credit: Sands China Ltd
Experiential travel has always been a top motivator for today’s travellers, and Macau’s travel trade definitely has a wide range of unique experiences targeted at local and foreign visitors alike.
Hoteliers, for instance, are rolling out massive deals to capture domestic interest.
Foodies can make a beeline for Sands Resorts Macao’s restaurants – many of which carry Michelin Star or equivalent badges – with nearly 20 of them offering attractive discounts of up to 30% off.
StarWorld Hotel under Galaxy Entertainment Group is running a ‘buy 1 night get 1 free’ promotion, offering free access to the ever-popular Grand Resort Deck filled with all sorts of water play. With the arrival of summer, Wynn’s staycation invitation includes a complimentary suite upgrade, MOP$1,000 dining credits, MOP$800 spa credits and checkout at 5pm.
More importantly, these staycations offer free cancellations – which a recent Google China study revealed is one of the top motivators for travellers’ to book in pandemic times.
Not forgetting about activities, SJM, for instance, is offering the ‘Grand Lisboa Hotel x Macau Jockey Club’ experience, which includes access to both properties plus hotel dining vouchers.
On 15 June, Sands China also ran a soft opening of the highly anticipated teamLab SuperNature Macao: an immersive interactive experience delivering cutting-edge art installations within a colossal, 3D space. Part of the Macao Ready Go! campaign, the three itineraries covering teamLab have proven to be “exceptionally popular”, with one already attracting more than 400 registrants, according to Inês Chan, an official at MGTO.
Annual events are so far moving ahead as planned, including the picturesque Macao Light Festival happening 26 September, 34th Macao International Music Festival on 4 October, and the 67th Macau Grand Prix over the 19 November weekend. For updates, click here.
3. Virtual connections go global
International travel may still be restricted for now, but that hasn’t stopped Macau from finding creative ways to reach travellers worldwide.
Sustainable Gastronomy Day on 18 June saw Macau releasing a series of videos showcasing its unique gastronomic culture. Explaining the cuisine’s traditions, cooking techniques, and special interviews with chefs – here's a sneak peek above you can share with your clients.
Over the same weekend, enterprising hoteliers Sands China and MGM China joined Chinese e-commerce giant Taobao’s sale festival, where they hosted live streaming sessions to introduce their properties and offer time-limited promotions.
On 29 June, Macau became the first to collaborate with two other major Chinese names – Alibaba Group’s travel service arm Fliggy, and third-party e-payment vendor Alipay – via a live-stream, as part of the SAR’s plans to attract cross-border markets.
Filled with fun and infotainment, MGTO's Director, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes appeared on Fliggy’s live broadcast room to rally for local tourism businesses, also paving the way for online attendees to learn about Macau’s best sights, gastronomic delights, exciting stays and pre-sale travel packages.
For ongoing updates on how you can regroup clients towards Macau, visit www.macaotourism.gov.mo.
This article is brought to you by Macao Government Tourism Office.