The special administrative region of Macau will move past the pandemic by diversifying its revenue streams and add sports and tourism to its casino industry to achieve better sustainability. The city plans on hosting 12 major sports events in 2021.
Macau Bets on Tourism and Sports Events for Future Sustainability
Macau has long been touted as the gambling capital of the world, but the administrative region wants to diversify its offer a little, adding big sports to the city and hosting international events in a bid to boost non-gambling tourism. Even though gross gaming revenue (GGR) went up 288% month-over-month in October, Macau is still concerned with diversifying.
Commenting on a future strategy for the region, which was heavily impacted by the covid-19 pandemic, Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng outlined the outlook for 2021 and beyond. Ho said that the region was already considering various initiatives to allow it to incentivize different types of tourists to visit the city, and not least create additional revenue streams. Tourists have been indeed coming back to Macau with inbound flights increasing 30% in August alone.
According to Ho’s plan, discussed with Ma Chi Seng, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Macau, a total of 12 events may be hosted in the city. Casinos will also be involved, he clarified, and each property will act as a title sponsor to an event.
Macau will also try to space out events evenly across the year, hosting one per month, so that it may benefit the region the most.
List of Events Already Approved
According to reports, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture for Macau Elsie Ao Ieong U has already compiled a list of events that the city can start hosting as early as 2021. However, Ho will have to vet the list himself and decide if the events featured on Elsie’s list fit Macau’s strategy.
Next year won’t be too easy for Macau to enact its new strategy with the covid-19 pandemic continuing to claim lives across the globe, and max vaccination at least several months away. Not least, Macau will have to compete with the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
While logistics and the types of events are still discussed, Macau has had some success hosting sports events, and specifically the Macau Grand Prix which wasn’t cancelled to the relief of motorsports enthusiasts. The revamping of Macau’s gaming industry is also pending.
The city will have to discuss casino tenders due for 2022. However, the covid-19 pandemic will take a toll on any potential talks and delay them until such a time that the city has less to fear from a pandemic that cuts its lifeline that is tourists.
Investors are also more uneasy about making a move in the midst of an outbreak. Yet, not all is bleak in the gaming segment. According to Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd., VIP gross gaming revenue will have recovered in Macau by 2023.