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MGTO and Macao travel trade attend Halal event in Hong Kong eying Islamic visitors to diversify international source markets as part of “1+4” development strategy

MGTO and Macao travel trade delegation attend the Halal Pavilion in Hong Kong

A Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) and Macao travel trade delegation is participating in a Halal related exhibition held in Hong Kong, to enhance the know-how and industry connections to expand the food and other offerings to cater for Islamic visitors from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and other destinations, as part of the work to attract more international visitors.

The delegation is attending the Halal Pavilion 2024, running integrated in the Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) Expo, since Friday until tomorrow (January 28) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Halal Pavilion features an international Halal food and products showcase along with an educational Islamic culture related forum. MGTO Deputy Director, Cheng Wai Tong, is joining the event along with nearly twenty senior representatives from hospitality, food and beverage, chefs and other areas of the six integrated resort and leisure enterprises, as well as hotel and catering associations.

Expand Macao Halal food offerings to help attract more visitors

MGTO is one of the business partners of the Halal Pavilion 2024, and organized a Macao travel trade delegation to the event, in order to provide a platform for the Macao tourism industry to increase the expertise and suppliers contacts to cater for target Islamic dominant international visitor source markets, like Indonesia and Malaysia, given that expanding the offerings of Halal food is a central aspect for Islamic visitors to choose Macao as a travel destination.

Macao travel trade visits mosque and experiences Halal meals

The Halal Pavilion gathers around 30 booths with exhibitors from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Palestine, and the United Kingdom. The event is a “one stop” platform to showcase Halal certified food, kitchens, and others. The educational forum is another important part of the event, with the topics zooming in on tourism in Muslim minority countries, Halal gastronomy, or Halal certification process. There are also cooking demonstrations, with introductions about Halal pre-cooked cuisine, Halal friendly ingredients, chefs, menus, restaurants, among others.

The program for the Macao travel trade also includes a Mosque tour in Hong Kong, two Halal meal experiences, among other activities.

Increase industry training opportunities to welcome more Islamic visitors

Over the years MGTO has been organizing training programs to prepare the Macao tourism industry professionals to welcome visitors with an Islamic way of life. The latest one was first conducted in March 2023, with Imam of Islamic Association of Macau, Ding Shao Jie, as the key speaker of the Islamic Culture in Tourism Workshop, which introduced about the religious and cultural background, norms and concerns in serving Islamic visitors, planning itineraries and other aspects. Due to the overwhelming response of enrolments, the Office held an additional session in December 2023. Meanwhile, MGTO in partnership with the industry will conduct another related training seminar in February, with more planned for this year.

Visitor arrivals from Islamic majority countries are expected to increase as Macao’s international direct air links gradually expand, along with MGTO’s promotional efforts. Last year, Indonesia and Malaysia already ranked sixth and eighth place on Macao’s top ten visitor arrivals. In November direct air links were launched between Macao and Jakarta, and earlier this month direct flights were increased to Malaysia. In addition, in 2024 MGTO is extending Macao destination promotion to the Middle East, as part of the efforts to expand the city’s international visitor source markets.

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