Secretary Tam leads a delegation to Sapporo for destination promotion

Group photo of ceremony officiating guests

The Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government Dr. Alexis Tam has led a delegation to Japan to mark Macao’s first-time participation in the Sapporo Snow Festival, as one of the guests to officiate the event inauguration tomorrow (5 February). Macao is a feature destination at this year’s edition of the Sapporo Snow Festival, showcasing a snow sculpture of the Ruins of St. Paul’s at the center of the event with video mapping projections about Macao. A Macao Café will greet visitors with the warmth of drinks and delicacies in the same area, alongside an exhibition of photographs by a Macao artist based in Hokkaido; besides the above highlights, a team from Macau Culinary Association has also been invited to join the International Snow Sculpture Contest as well, etc. Taking this valuable opportunity, Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) brings on a spectacular promotion filled with colorful new dimensions to present the enchanting destination in snowy beauty to an estimated number of nearly two million Japanese residents and international visitors in the Sapporo Snow Festival. Through participation in this prestigious international event, MGTO strives to carry out effective promotion of destination image and attract more international visitations to Macao. Prestigious event attracts over two million visitors Jointly organized by the City of Sapporo, Sapporo Tourist Association, Sapporo Board of Education and Sapporo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the 67th Sapporo Snow Festival is held in Sapporo, Hokkaido from 5 – 11 February. The event is a popular winter festival that attracts every year over two million visitors from home and abroad, and a wide media coverage from across the world. The Festival features over 200 snow and ice sculptures on display across three sites this year. Spanning over 1.5 kilometers long, 1 chome to 12 chome of Odori Park is transformed into a snow and ice fairyland as Odori Site, the major showcase venue in the Festival. The opening ceremony of the Sapporo Snow Festival will be held on the HBC Macao Square, located at 7 chome, the heart of Odori Site tomorrow (5 February), with the giant snow sculpture of the Ruins of St Paul’s as the key backdrop. Secretary Tam has been invited to officiate the opening together with other guests. Macao debuts in Sapporo Snow Festival as a feature destination Macao makes its debut in the Sapporo Snow Festival this year as a feature destination and proudly presents the giant snow sculpture of the Ruins of St. Paul’s on the HBC Macao Square at the centre of Odori Site. Hokkaido Broadcasting Company (HBC) is the first broadcasting company founded in Hokkaido. Since 1975, the company has completed various snow sculpture projects in partnership with different countries and regions; together naming the center venue of the event, HBC undertakes the project planning for various snow sculptures themed as major attractions of the partner regions as well. Besides, HBC would widely promote the projects and its partner regions on its broadcasting channels. This year, the Ruins of St. Paul’s in snow is set to come into the spotlight in the event, a prime opportunity to effectively present Macao’s image as a city of culture and events to Japanese residents and international visitors. Secretary Tam receives the snow sculpture of the Ruins of St. Paul’s The traditional handover ceremony of snow statue was held this morning (4 February) at the HBC Macao Square. On behalf of Macao, Secretary Tam received the giant snow sculpture of the Ruins of St. Paul’s that measures 17 meters high and two-thirds the original size of the historic façade. The magnificent artwork will come on display at the 67th Sapporo Snow Festival, running 5 to 11 February in Hokkaido, inviting visitors from around the world to come and experience Macao. The handover ceremony was attended by Sapporo City Mayor, Katsuhiro Akimoto; Chairman of the Sapporo Snow Festival Executive Committee, Hisao Hoshino; President of Hokkaido Broadcasting Company, Takashi Watanabe and Commander of Northern Army Signal Group of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, Kazuhiro Oka. Coming from Macao, Chief of Office of the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ip Peng Kin, MGTO Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Advisor of Office of the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Charles Lam and Head of Destination Marketing Department of MGTO, Betty Fok, were present in the ceremony among others. Promotion at Snow Festival draws event lovers to Macao During the handover ceremony, Secretary Tam said that the Ruins of St Paul’s and the World Heritage “Historic Centre of Macao” is a magnet for visitors travelling to Macao. He hoped to echo the successful experience of Macao Light Festival and showcase Macao in a spectacular way at the Sapporo Snow Festival, to match this outstanding winter event. Secretary Tam is confident that the Macao promotion at the Sapporo Snow Festival will reach a new milestone in Macao SAR government’s efforts in promoting event tourism to invite more Japanese residents and international visitors who are event enthusiasts to Macao. He added that Macao has experienced remarkable developments as a tourism destination over the past period. Not only new integrated resorts have opened, but the heritage and events have also been revamped and enhanced. The SAR Government’s continuous efforts in enhancing Macao as a tourism destination with the goal to transform the city into a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure have been recognized with many awards and rankings internationally. Secretary Tam pointed out that Macao ranked first among Asian destinations Japanese visitors would like to visit most in 2016, according to a social media trend research conducted by the top travel agency H.I.S. in Japan. He expressed gratitude to Japanese visitors for their love for Macao, and agreed that the research finding has recognized Macao’s destination glamour. He remarked that Japan, likewise, is one of Macao residents’ favorite destinations to visit. During the handover ceremony, Sapporo City Mayor, Katsuhiro Akimoto, remarked that the snow statue of the Ruins of St Paul's will foster international exchange as well as friendship between Macao and Japan as a bridge. President of HBC, Takashi Watanabe, stated that it gives an unusual dynamic to have Macao’s historic landmark, part of its World Heritage Site, recreated on the HBC International Square. Back in the 17th century, the Japanese painters and artisans in Macao dedicated their ideas and techniques to building the façade of the Church of St. Paul’s. Today, the Ruins of St. Paul’s in ice was carved by Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, resembling an extension of the project dating centuries ago. Commander of Northern Army Signal Group of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, Kazuhiro Oka, shared that their crew members took 30 days to build the iconic snow sculpture in severe weather. Colorful activities enhance audience experience During the Snow Festival, MGTO will project a 3D video mapping show upon the snowy façade of the Ruins of St. Paul’s, to radiate the myriad sparks of Macao’s cultural heritage and events ignited by their synergistic effect, and echo the splendor of Macao Light Festival in spectators’ eyes. The 10 minute-long projections will dazzle the snow sculpture every half an hour, enchanting the audience with the beauty of Macao in a fairytale of winter wonderland. Next to the snow-carved Ruins of St. Paul’s, a romantic Macao Café is set up to serve heartwarming Macao delicacies and hot drinks for visitors this snowy winter. In this café filled with Portuguese aroma, guests can relish Macao’s signature flavor recreated by Japanese chef who specially travelled to Macao to gain culinary experience. Besides, MGTO has invited Macao artist Season Lao, born in the 80s and currently based in Hokkaido, to share with visitors stories about Macao through a display of his stunning photographs of Macao. In addition, MGTO has invited a team of three snow-carving artists from Macau Culinary Association to join the 43rd International Snow Sculpture Contest, another highlight of the Festival, on behalf of Macao. Led by Chairman of the Association Perry Yuan Kam Hung, the team has to sculpt a snow sculpture openly at 11 chome on Odori Site from 4 to 7 February, presenting a piece of artwork known as “Golden Lotus Flower Embraced by the Dragon”. Winners will be announced on site on 8 February followed by a prize-giving ceremony. Draw international visitors to Macao through prestigious events overseas This year marks the debut of MGTO in the Sapporo Snow Festival. The Office not only displays a snow sculpture of the Ruins of St. Paul’s at the Festival’s major site, but also rolls out vibrant activities with various creative elements. The brand-new promotion is carried out to invite Snow Festival visitors to come and experience Macao. Leveraging the far-reaching influence of overseas international events, MGTO aspires to promote the destination effectively and bring to Macao more international visitors interested in joining mega events.

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