CE: More resources to promote tourism diversification

Chief Executive, Mr Chui Sai On, meets with the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, Dr Taleb Rifai.

The Government would continue allocating more resources to promote the development of cultural industries, tourism and other emerging sectors, in an effort to diversify the local economy, Chief Executive Mr Chui Sai On said today. Mr Chui made the remarks during a meeting with the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Dr Taleb Rifai. Dr Rifai visited Macao to attend the Global Tourism Economy Forum • Macau 2015. In the meeting, held in the afternoon, Mr Chui expressed his gratitude for UNWTO’s long-term support to Macao, namely in helping to promote the development of the city’s tourism industry. During the morning, at the opening ceremony of the Global Tourism Economy Forum • Macau 2015, representatives of the UNWTO and of the Macao SAR Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Mr Chui said the MoU creates new cooperation opportunities between both sides. It also adds to the Government’s contributions to the implementation of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative (also known as “Belt and Road”). The Government previously announced it plans to establish a committee to coordinate the work of transforming Macao to a world centre of tourism and leisure. Mr Chui noted that the plan would further help integrate Macao’s unique features into the national development strategy. The Government would continue to devote more resources to the cultural and creative industries; to the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry; and to the traditional Chinese medicine sector, in an effort to achieve greater synergies between cultural development and tourism, said Mr Chui. He added this could help diversify Macao’s tourism industry and attract more overseas tourists, as aimed by the Government. Mr Chui also stated that the Government has a sound financial reserve able to cope with any challenges or unforeseen circumstances, despite the recent decline in revenue from the city’s gaming industry. During the meeting, Dr Rifai said the Macao Government was visionary in the way it actively engaged mainland China, creating a favourable environment for development and a win-win situation for both sides. The UNWTO and the Macao Government will strive to strengthen exchanges of knowledge and expertise, following the signing of today’s MoU, Dr Rifai said. He added that the UNWTO would provide support to train specialised professionals to help promote Macao’s development. Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Mr Tam Chon Weng, also joined the meeting. He noted that Macao has the capacity and infrastructure to hold major international events, such as the Macau Grand Prix, the Macau International Marathon or the Macau International Dragon Boat Races. Mr Tam said he hoped the UNWTO would continue to support Macao’s tourism development. Officials attending today’s meeting included: the Executive Secretary and Director for Asia and the Pacific of the UNWTO, Mr Xu Jing; the Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific of the UNWTO, Ms Kelly Ko Yun Keong; the Chief-of-Office of the Chief Executive’s Office, Ms O Lam; the Director of Protocol, Public Relations and External Affairs Office, Mr Fung Sio Weng; and the Director of Macau Government Tourism Office, Ms Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes. Earlier today, Mr Chui officiated the opening ceremony of the Global Tourism Economy Forum • Macau 2015. He said the Forum would create more opportunities for regional cooperation under the “Belt and Road” initiative. Mr Chui said Macao has been an important platform to strengthen cultural exchanges. As such, the goal of transforming Macao to a world centre for tourism and leisure and its inclusion in the “Belt and Road” initiative could help further leverage the city’s cultural appeal based on the “Historic Centre of Macao”. The annual Forum, in its fourth edition, is hosted by the Macao Government, and it meets this year under the theme: “Belt and Road Initiative: Unleashing the New Dynamics of Cultural Tourism”. It brings together experts, scholars and government officials from different regions of the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities offered by the “Belt and Road” initiative.

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