Macao has set itself for another groundbreaking year by linking with the nearby Chinese province of Fujian to attract more Australians to both destinations, all on a single ticket.
The Fujian & Macao “The Maritime Silk Road” Destinations Product promotion, recently launched to the Australian travel industry, was created to boost tourism in both Asian destinations.
Under the joint promotion, the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) is working closely with Fujian Tourism to promote their products, to enlighten Australians to the advantages of holidaying in Macao and such popular coastal cities as Xiamen with return economy airfares to Macao beginning at a nudge under $600.
The initiative builds on the success of an MGTO and Xiamen Airlines cooperative campaign in 2017 which saw the creation of a Two Cities, One Airfare from Sydney and Melbourne.
Macao has long been a favourite drawcard for Australians, attracting around 100,000 each year, with visitors staying between two and three nights each visit.
The year 2018 is particularly tantalising for Macao as it celebrates the Year of Gastronomy, the result of being designated by UNESCO as a Creative City for Gastronomy and a member of an elite list of 26 worldwide cities.
When the Portuguese traders brought capsicum, curry and pickled cod to China more than 400 years ago, little did they know that their culinary delicacies would form the basis for one of the earliest forms of fusion cuisine.
That fascinating fusion of meats, vegetables, herbs and spices has now been recognised for the world to take notice and sample. It’s not just the food which has UNESCO’s blessing as historic Macao has long been World Heritage-listed through five centuries’ marriage of cultures, traditions, food and architecture.
Macao also knows how to stage a colourful festival or event – on an annual basis.
Throughout the Chinese Year of the Dog, Macao will be highlighted by a congested calendar of colourful festivals and events.
“Being recognised by UNESCO for its gastronomy is an exciting development for Macao which has always been renowned for having one of the world’s earliest forms of fusion food,” said Helen Wong, GM of the Macao Government Tourism Office (Australia and New Zealand).
“Over four centuries, Macao has seen the evolution of what is known as Macanese cuisine, where families have prepared home-cooked dishes, recipes with elements of Portugal, Africa, India, Malaysia and China creating a real melting pot of tastes,” she said.
“The story of Macanese cuisine is just as enticing as the taste of the food itself.”
Among the popular dishes on the Macao menu are African chicken, minchi, the salt cod fritters and the sawdust pudding serradura along with the sought-after Portuguese-style egg tarts.
Not all festivals revolve around the dinner table, however. Over five Saturday evenings from 1 September until 1 October, the skies over the Macau Tower will explode into a kaleidoscope of colours as countries from around the world compete in the 29th Macao International Fireworks Display Contest.
Giant steins will be raised throughout the same month as the MGM Macau celebrates its annual Oktoberfest with all the food and singing expected at such a German-style gathering.
More food for thought in November will be the 18th Macau Food Festival, the overwhelming aroma of dishes enough to wake the tastebuds as guests wander between street stalls.
December will be another busy month with the eighth Macau Shopping Festival, the ever-appealing Macao Light Festival and the third International Film Festival and Awards – Macao (IFFAM), complete with its red-carpet ceremonies.
To wind up 2018, sports fans can look forward to the Macao International Kart Grand Prix while lovers for fireworks can prepare for a colourful evening on 20 December to commemorate the 19th year since the establishment of the Macao Administrative Region along with the traditional New Year fireworks on December 31.