Macao to focus on Art scene and Portuguese fare

Five-month festival centred on art, song and dance

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Macao is set to stage its largest array of art exhibitions as part of its year-long 20th anniversary celebrations as a Special Administrative Region of China (SAR).

The five-month festival,  Art Macao, will officially begin in June with a host of public venues and integrated resorts unveiling internationally recognised exhibits.

World-renowned concerts of song and dance will also feature on the extensive program until the end of October.

“It’s 20 years since Macao was handed back to the People’s Republic of China, so we see Art Macao as a perfect festival to celebrate the special year,” said Helen Wong, General Manager of the Macao Government Tourism Office (Australia and New Zealand).

“There will be exhibitions and concerts for all tastes in a former Portuguese centre which is already brimming with culture through its east-meets-west, UNESCO World Heritage-protected treasures,” she said.

Helen Wong, General Manager of the Macao Government Tourism Office ANZ

Among the highlights of Art Macao are:

  • Italian Renaissance Drawings from the British Museum (Macao Museum of Art, open now till June 30)
  • Beauty in the New Era, Masterpieces from the Collection of the National Art Museum of China (Macao Museum of Art, open now until July 28).
  • GRACE KELLY: From Hollywood to Monaco, Artists’ Tribute (Galaxy Macau)
  • Unexpected Encounters: Collection of contemporary masters (City of Dreams)
  • All That’s Gold Glitters: An exhibition of glamorous Ceramics (Sands Macao)
  • Wynn, Garden of Earthly Delights (Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace)

The announcement of the festival comes in a year where international tourist numbers from around the globe are at record levels: up by 21% since 2018.

In the first three months of 2019, almost 24,000 Australians have visited Macao, an increase of almost 8% from the same period last year.

One of the most notable increases has been in the family market, where in January – during the annual school holidays – more than 2,000 Aussie visitors were aged under 15 years, second only to the 46-60-year bracket.

During that month, 11,020 Australian holidayed in Macao, a jump of 11%.

Wong said Australian travellers stay in Macao between two and four nights and that the family market tends to stay longer. Most Australian travellers tend to stay in the four- and five-star properties, of which there is an ever increasing number. Options include the Venetian, Four Seasons and Wynn Palace in the Cotai district.

The opening of the motorway-style 55km Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge (the largest over-the-sea road construction in the world) has played a key role in the influx of international visitors

Hong Kong Link Road

Macao’s international reputation as a City of Gastronomy has also grown, primarily as a result of its designation as a UNESCO Creative City for Gastronomy. The uniquely created Macanese cuisine is considered one of the world’s earliest forms of fusion food.

In a bid to preserve its food, culture and traditions and help promote sustainability for future generations and tourists, Macao has teamed with National Geographic for a Great Green Food Journey campaign – with managing food waste high on the agenda.

Anim Arte (Nam Van lake)

An expansion of annual festivals and events is another prime contributor to Macao’s growing popularity. International events, such as the International Film Festival and Awards, Macao (IFFAM), the Macao International Fireworks Display Contest, the Macao Light Festival, Macao International Parade, Macao International Shopping Festival, Macau Food Festival and the highly-charged Macau Grand Prix are key events held each year that are experiencing increased attendance.

The opening in recent years of new hotels and resorts, attractions, stage shows, and activities has also played a major role in attracting international guests to the Centre of Leisure in the Greater Bay Area of China.

Later this year, the grand 530,000 square-metre property, Lisboa Palace, will open on Macao in the Cotai district between Taipa and Coloane. The addition of this luxury resort will expand the skyline of hotels available in Macao, which already include the Grand Lisboa Palace, Palazzo Versace and Karl Lagerfeld, and increase Macao’s hotel guest rooms by 2000.

Lisboa Palace complements The Morpheus, which debuted in mid-July 2018, featuring over 770 rooms.

Across 117 hotels and resorts, Macao has almost 39,000 guest rooms with the occupancy levels hovering above an impressive 90% this year.

In March, the occupancy rate for five-star hotel accommodation stood at almost 93%.

In a further boost to Macao’s room inventory, yesterday [Thursday 9 May, 2019], Las Vegas Sands and Sands China Ltd unveiled plans to reimagine the Sands Cotai Central Cotai Strip integrated resort into a new project called The Londoner Macao.

Exuding classic British luxury, The Londoner Macao will incorporate four world-class hotel brands: The Londoner Hotel (previously Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central) alongside existing properties, Conrad Macao, Cotai Central, Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai Central and The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central.

The Londoner Macao is slated to progressively debut in 2020 and 2021, joining The Venetian Macao and The Parisian Macao as the Cotai Strip’s “must-see” properties.

Lead image: Macao Government Tourism Office ANZ’s Brian Lo, Digital Manager; Helen Wong, General Manager and Mike Smith, Public Relations Manager.

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