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Macau celebrates recording-breaking 20 million visitor arrivals

Macau has received its record-breaking 20 millionth visitor for the year 2006. On Sunday, Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) celebrated the new milestone with performances of Portuguese Folk Dance, Dragon and Lion Dance at six major tourism spots in Macau peninsula and Taipa island. In addition, Macau Tourism Ambassadors distributed give-aways to visitors during the day. In the year 2000 and 2001, Macau’s visitor arrivals experienced breakthroughs of 9 million and 10 million respectively. Seven years after the establishment of the Macau SAR, the number doubled to 20 million. In the first ten months of 2006, visitor arrivals exceeded 17 million, an increase of 15.85 per cent compared to the same period last year. The top ten tourism market sources of Macau (in accordance with volume) are Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Korea, the United States, Singapore and Thailand. Mainland China, the largest source market, occupies nearly 54 per cent of total visitor arrivals; among which, half of the 9.7 million visitors are comprised of individual travelers. On the other hand, the increment of the other markets was also satisfactory. Director João Manuel Costa Antunes of MGTO cited: “It is not easy for Macau, a tiny enclave with an area of only 28.2 sq. kilometers and a population slightly over 500 thousand to receive 20 million visitors a year. The outstanding result is fruitful of the great support of the Central Government, our Macau SAR leaders as well as the hard work both the travel and tourism industry and the public.” He continued: “In addition to the Historic Centre of Macau that exhibits Chinese and Western cultures, lifestyle and unique cuisine, the liberalization of the gaming industry attracted investments for world class tourism and MICE facilities to Macau. These led to high-speed growth and development of the tourism industry. In return, the multi-dimensional tourism development will motivate other industries.” He added, “We see opportunities and challenges ahead of us. We must, therefore, have the initiative to improve, offer quality service to visitors and refine our tourism brand.” MGTO has been striving to provide diversified tourism products and quality service to satisfy the need of different markets. “The Historic Centre of Macau” inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List gave Macau a golden chance to reinforce a quality tourism brand, enabling visitors to learn of the history of Macau and to personally feel the mood of being present at the “Historic Centre of Macau”. Culture is closely related to tourism. As mentioned by Vice mayor of Guangdong Province, Tang Bingquan at the Guangdong International Tourism and Cultural Festival 2006, “Culture without tourism lacks vitality, while tourism without culture lacks charm.” MGTO launched a series of activities for “2006 Macau World Heritage Year”, through different channels and format to actively promote Macau’s world heritage. For instance, MGTO organized one of the largest groups of international media to visit Macau. The close to one hundred media from 13 countries/regions visited Macau’s world heritage. On the other hand, people from different spectrums also formed familiarization groups to visit the heritage, among which included specialists, scholars, students, seniors, media and tourism stakeholders. Visitors from Japan are especially fond of Macau’s world heritage and are interested in ecotourism. Therefore, world heritage visit is certainly included in their itineraries.
Other related promotional activities included organizing Macau World Heritage Photo Exhibitions in Macau, mainland cities as well as overseas; placing advertisements and TV/radio commercials at local, regional and international media; using “World Heritage” as the theme for large-scale promotional events and at international travel fairs; and holding “Macau World Heritage Passport Campaign” etc. Antunes pointed out: “Promotion of world heritage is a very meaningful and long term task, results cannot be easily seen in a short period of time. We will continue to promote to different peoples in various ways, to gradually uplift the fame and value of Macau’s world heritage.” MGTO will retain “A World of Difference, The Difference is Macau” as promotional theme for Macau tourism, with emphasis on world heritage. At the same time, it will promote comprehensive tourism with multi-faceted elements: culture, convention & exhibition, gaming, retail, sport, leisure, gourmet, grand events and festivities.


Macao and the Introduction of Western Medicine into China

The Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao S.A.R. Government will organize a Research Grant Lecture in the Cultural Affairs Bureau Auditorium (Edifício do Instituto Cultural, Tap Seac Square, Macao) on December 4 (Monday) at 6:30pm. Dr. Dong Shao Xin of Fudan University will give a lecture on “Macao and the Introduction of Western Medicine into China”.
Macao has been an important point of interchange with the West since its early history – it channeled eastern culture into Europe and western culture into China. The introduction of western medicine into China is one of the many important cultural exchanges to have taken place there since late Ming Dynasty.
Macao was the first city in Chinese territory to use western medicine, establishing its first western hospital in as early as 1568. During the early 17th century, the Jesuits of Macao’s St. Paul’s College researched both eastern and western medicine. As a result, many missionary doctors traveled into China to serve the Chinese imperial family, at times facilitated by the city’s senate. Various kinds of medicines were brought into China, expanding an already complex system of medicines and Macao’s medical activities spread across the Pearl River Delta, exemplified, for instance, by the clinics and pharmacies of the Franciscan Order.
In 1805, the smallpox vaccine was introduced into China through Macao. This extraordinary event gave Protestant missionaries a leading role in the history of the introduction of western medicine into China. In 1820, Dr. John Livingstone of the East India Company opened a clinic in Macao; while in 1828 Dr. Thomas R. Colledge, who also worked for the Company, established an eye hospital, going on to found the Medical Missionary Society in China in 1836. Macao’s role as the main channel for introducing western medicine into China gradually declined after the opening of the other five treaty ports.
Dong Shao Xin received a Ph.D. in History from Sun Yat-sen University in 2004 after which he took up a teaching position in Zhejiang University. Since August 2005, Dong has been conducting post-doctoral research at Fudan University’s Institute of Chinese Historical Geography. His academic research includes Macao history, the history of Sino-western relations, Catholic history in China and medical history. This research topic was awarded a grant in the 13th Research Scholarship Competition of the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao S.A.R. Government.
The lecture will be given in Mandarin with Cantonese, Portuguese and English simultaneous interpretation. Entrance is free. For further details, please contact Ms. Chu of the Macao Historical Archives of the Cultural Affairs Bureau at 5986510, or visit the Cultural Affairs Bureau’s website: www.icm.gov.mo.


Results of the External Trade Statistics for October 2006

Information from the Statistics and Census Service indicated that, in October 2006, Macao’s total value of exports amounted to MOP1.57 billion, down 26.6% over the same month of 2005. Among this, the value of domestic exports dropped 35.5% to MOP1.04 billion, while the value of re-exports remained unchanged, at MOP537 million. Total value of imports amounted to MOP2.92 billion, down 5.9% over the same period of 2005. A trade deficit of MOP1.34 billion was recorded. During the period of January – October 2006, the value of total exports expanded 12.4% year-on-year to MOP17.43 billion. Both the values of domestic exports and re-exports registered increases, up by 12.2% and 12.9% respectively. Moreover, the value of imports grew 17.9% to MOP29.86 billion. In the first ten months of 2006, Macao’s trade balance registered a deficit of MOP12.43 billion. The exports/imports ratio decreased from 61.2% in the corresponding period of 2005 to 58.4%. In the first ten months of 2006, the value of Textile & garment exports, which accounted for 73.0% of the total exports, grew 6.4% over the same period of 2005, while the value of Non-textile exports rose 32.5%. As the major components of non-textile exports, Machines & apparatus, parts & accessories thereof and Footwear expanded 5.2% and 374.3% respectively year-on-year. The USA and the EU remained as Macao’s major export markets, together making up 64.8% of the total value of exports. Among this, exports to the USA, which made up 45.6% of the total value of exports, increased 4.1%, while exports to the EU, which took up 19.2% of the total, increased 43.5% over the same period of 2005. During the period of January – October 2006, Macao’s total value of imports grew 17.9% year-on-year, mainly due to increases in import values of, by broad economic categories, Fuels & lubricants (+33.9%), Consumer goods (+21.5%), Raw materials & semi-manufactures (+15.9%) and Capital goods (+5.9%). Meanwhile, Macao’s main suppliers of imported goods still concentrated in the Asian region. Imports from Mainland China and Hong Kong, which together constituted 55.5% of the total import value, rose 25.1% and 23.8% respectively compared with the same period of 2005.


Results of the Employment Survey for August – October 2006

According to the results of the Employment Survey released by the Statistics and Census Service, unemployment rate for August - October 2006 was 3.6%, which fell by 0.2 percentage point over July - September 2006, and 0.5 percentage point over the same period of 2005. The underemployment rate was 0.9%, down by 0.1 and 0.6 percentage point over the preceding period and the same period of 2005 respectively. About 1,400 unemployed persons were searching for their first job, representing 13.7% of the total unemployed population, up by 0.2 percentage point over the preceding period. Compared with the previous period, the unemployment situation continued to improve in Hotels, restaurants & similar activities, and Real estate, renting & business activities, while that in the Wholesale & retail trade and Recreational, cultural, gaming & other services also showed improvement; however, the situation was less favourable in the Manufacturing sector. Total labour force was estimated at 284,000 in August - October 2006, of which the employed and the unemployed populations were 274,000 and 10,000 respectively. Labour force participation rate was 66.2%, up by 0.3 and 2.6 percentage points over July - September 2006 and the same period of 2005 respectively.


Results of the Direct Investment Statistics for 2005

Information from the Statistics and Census Service indicated that inward foreign direct investment to Macao reached MOP 10.59 billion in 2005, of which investments from Hong Kong, the United States and Mainland China accounted for MOP 4.56 billion, MOP 4.41 billion and MOP 440 million respectively. In addition, outward direct investment made by Macao enterprises was MOP 380 million, resulting in a net inflow of foreign direct investment to Macao, at MOP 10.22 billion in 2005. At the end of 2005, stock of inward foreign direct investment to Macao amounted to MOP 41.37 billion, which soared by MOP 10.20 billion from 2004. Stock of outward direct investment made by Macao enterprises increased by MOP 230 million over 2004 to MOP 3.58 billion. In terms of industry, stock of foreign direct investment to Macao was mainly invested in Cultural, Recreational, Gaming & Other Services, with MOP 25.60 billion, up by MOP 7.37 billion over 2004; followed by the Financial sector (MOP 8.31 billion), Industrial Production (MOP 2.87 billion) and Hotels & Restaurants (MOP 2.24 billion), which registered increases of MOP 1.24 billion, MOP 28 million and MOP 870 million respectively compared with 2004. Analyzed by investors’ place of usual residence, the majority of Macao’s foreign direct investors were from Hong Kong; their stock of direct investment grew by MOP 5.41 billion to MOP 25.44 billion in 2005. This was followed by those from the United States and Mainland China, with MOP 7.43 billion and MOP 3.91 billion, up by MOP 4.39 billion and MOP 200 million respectively over 2004. In 2005, income earned from inward foreign direct investment totalled MOP 11.28 billion, a significant increase of MOP 4.06 billion over 2004. Meanwhile, income earned from outward direct investment made by Macao enterprises amounted to MOP 240 million. Direct Investment Statistics include information on the main industries of Macao, namely Industrial Production; Construction; Wholesale & Retail; Hotels & Restaurants; Transport, Storage & Communications; Financial Services; and Cultural, Recreational, Gaming & Other Services. Altogether, there were 1,314 foreign direct investment enterprises in 2005, among which 1,267 engaged in the Non-financial sector and 47 enterprises were in the Financial sector.


Results of the 3rd Quarter 2006 Demographic Statistics

According to the information released by the Statistics and Census Service, resident population of Macao was estimated at 508,000 as at 30 September 2006, a year-on-year increase of about 26,000. In the third quarter of 2006, there were 1,034 cases of live birth, up by 11.1% over the previous quarter, among which 54.4% were male. Number of mortality cases reported was 381, of which the major causes were “Malignant neoplasms” and “Diseases of the circulatory system”. In addition, the Health Bureau received 635 cases of Notifiable diseases in this quarter, including 316 cases of “Varicella (chickenpox)”, 107 cases of “Enterovirus infection” and 103 cases of “Tuberculosis of lung”. Meanwhile, 402 cases of marriage were registered, down by 18.5% compared with the second quarter of 2006. Regarding the migratory flow, number of legal immigrants from Mainland China totalled 481 in the third quarter of 2006, a decrease of 49.2% compared with the previous quarter; besides, 288 illegal immigrants were repatriated. The end-period balance of non-resident workers in the third quarter was 56,553, up 6,306 persons over the previous quarter.


Results of the Visitor Arrivals for October 2006

Information from Statistics and Census Service indicated that in light of the benefits brought by the National Day holidays, the total number of visitor arrivals reached 1,989,828 in October 2006, another all-time record registered in a single month, representing a year-on-year increase of 19.6%. Visitors from Mainland China and Hong Kong grew 10.3% and 36.7% respectively, while those from Taiwan, China dropped slightly by 1.1%. Meanwhile, same-day visitors accounted for 51.5% of the total arrivals, at 1,024,190. Visitors came mainly from Mainland China (53.4% of the total), Hong Kong (32.2%) and Taiwan, China (6.4%). Among those from Mainland China, 515,673 (48.6%) travelled to Macao under the Individual Visit Scheme. In the first ten months of 2006, visitor arrivals totalled 17,885,622, a 15.9% growth over the same period of last year. Visitors from Mainland China rose 13.6% to 9,773,828, which accounted for 54.6% of the total arrivals; those from Hong Kong and Taiwan, China shared 31.5% and 6.7% respectively. Furthermore, same-day visitors made up 51.6% of the total, at 9,234,055. Analyzed by mode of transport, visitor arrivals by sea increased 13.7% to 6,253,904 in the first ten months of 2006, with 5,946,192 arriving at the Outer Harbour; the majority of these visitors were from Hong Kong (60.1%) and Mainland China (27.7%). Visitor arrivals at the Inner Harbour jumped 90.5% to 307,712. At the same time, the cumulative number of visitors arriving through the Border Gate soared 25.6% to 10,620,949. The majority of the visitors came from Mainland China (73.0%) and Hong Kong (19.1%). In addition, visitor arrivals by air were 1,010,769, up 15.7% compared with the same period of last year, with 1,002,561 arriving at the Macao International Airport (+16.0%). Visitors from Taiwan, China (55.1%) and Mainland China (20.1%) were the major users of this access.


Results of the 3rd Quarter 2006 Retail Sales Survey

Information from the Statistics and Census Service showed that value of total retail sales was estimated at MOP2.65 billion in the third quarter of 2006. Retail sales of watches, clocks & jewellery took the largest share of 14% of the total, which were followed by sales of motor vehicles (12%); goods in supermarkets (11%); goods in department stores (11%); adults' clothing (7%) and automotive fuels (6%). In this quarter, value of retail sales rose by 21% from MOP2.19 billion in the third quarter of 2005, with marked increases in the sales of watches, clocks & jewellery, goods in supermarkets, goods in department stores, fuels for household use, household electric appliances and goods in pharmacies. In comparison with the MOP2.54 billion sales in the second quarter, value of retail sales in this quarter increased by 4%. In the first three quarters of 2006, value of total retail sales amounted to MOP7.67 billion, up by 19% over the same period of 2005. A comparison of the retailers’ opinions indicated that about 40% reported decrease in the sales volume in the third quarter of 2006, down by 7 percentage points over the previous quarter; 60% reported that the sales volume remained stable or increase. In terms of retail prices, about 54% and 19% reported the prices were stable and showed increase whereas 27% reported the prices decreased. Compared with the same quarter of 2005, about 55% of the retailers said that the stock level was normal in the third quarter of 2006, while 30% indicated that the stock level was low. Regarding the prospect for the fourth quarter of 2006, about 79% of the retailers expected the sales volume to increase or remain stable, and 21% expected it to decrease. Meanwhile, about 89% expected the retail prices to remain stable or increase, while 11% expected it to decrease.


Results of the 3rd Quarter 2006 Employment Survey

Statistics and Census Service released the results of Employment Survey for the third quarter of 2006. Principal indicators such as the labour force participation rate, unemployment rate and underemployment rate have been published in the brief report in October. In the third quarter of 2006, total labour force was estimated at 282,000, of which the employed and unemployed populations were 271,000 and 11,000 respectively. Compared with the previous quarter, the employed and unemployed populations increased 7,300 and 400 respectively. Regarding the employed population, 53.8% were male. Analyzed by industry, the majority of the employed population were engaging in Recreational, cultural, gaming & other services (20.4%), Wholesale & retail trade (12.9%), Hotels, restaurants & similar activities (12.3%), as well as the Construction sector (12.0%). In terms of occupation, 22.4% of the employed population were Clerks (including casino dealers, floorpersons, betting service operators, etc.); 20.6% were Service & sales workers and 17.9% were Unskilled workers. The median actual hours worked per week was 47.2 hours and the median monthly employment earnings was MOP6,795. Within the unemployed, 86.5% were searching for a new job, while 13.5% had never worked and were searching for their first job. With regard to the educational attainment, 11.6% had lower than primary education; 24.7% had primary education; 28.4% had junior secondary education; 19.4% had senior secondary education and 15.8% had tertiary education. For the unemployed that were searching for a new job: Analyzed by the previous industry engaged, the majority had worked in Hotels, restaurants & similar activities (22.8%), Wholesale & retail trade (16.3%), Recreational, cultural, gaming & other services (16.0%), as well as the Construction sector (14.9%). In terms of the previous occupation, 37.7% were Service & sales workers; Unskilled workers and Clerks accounted for 18.8% and 15.9% respectively.


Results of the 3rd Quarter 2006 Private Sector Construction Statistics

Information from the Statistics and Census Service showed that in the third quarter of 2006, construction of 18 buildings was started, with 309 units and 175,810 m² in gross floor area, down 78.8% and 60.7% respectively over the third quarter of 2005, but up 103.3% and 38.1% respectively in comparison with the second quarter of 2006. A sum of 714 parking spaces for cars and 152 parking spaces for motorcycles were provided. In the first three quarters of 2006, the newly started buildings provided 1,833 units and 589,537 m² in gross floor area, down 24.1% and 61.9% year-on-year respectively. In this quarter, a total of 27 buildings were completed and extended, involving 2,049 units and 536,745 m² in gross floor area, up 1.5 times and 4.9 times respectively over the third quarter of 2005, and up 3.1 times and 55.3% respectively in comparison with the second quarter of 2006. A sum of 2,691 parking spaces for cars and 430 parking spaces for motorcycles were provided. In the first three quarters of the year, the completed and extended buildings provided 2,904 units and 1,062,959 m² in gross floor area, up 2.2 times and 4.9 times respectively over the same period of 2005. In addition, the number of residential buildings completed and extended was 21, supplying 1,904 building units, which went up 1.6 times and 3.2 times over the third quarter of 2005 and the second quarter of 2006 respectively. The housing units were mainly T3 (1,379 units), accounting for 72.4% of the total, followed by T2 (472 units). The number of housing units completed in the first three quarters of 2006 was 2,681 units, showing a year-on-year increase of 2.5 times.


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