12 May 2011

Macau must make memorable impact

While the gaming industry is the dragon’s head of the local economy, Macau should do more to diversify and better promote itself overseas, said the dean of the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) – Singapore, Andy Nazarechuk.
Following the Singaporean example, Macau should not only build casinos, but develop the destination as a whole to create memorable experiences to ensure return visits, Nazarechuk told the audience of last weekend’s TDM Talk Show.
“Just like Singapore, Macau cannot just build casinos. They have to build the destination and create a memorable experience for the people that come here.
“Because if people from mainland China don’t have a memorable experience, they will go back and say: ‘It was OK’, and it won’t generate new business,” he pointed out.
He urged every property in Macau to have its own unique attraction and for the SAR to continue adding exciting events, open good restaurants and shopping areas.
For instance he added, in Las Vegas, 79 percent of visitors have visited the city at least once before. “This means they come back over and over again and in the market this is vital for long term sustainability,” he said.
Nazarechuk said that Macau wins in terms of gaming revenue compared to Las Vegas, but the city is still behind in terms of non-gaming revenue. Nevertheless, he believes that new properties are helping to bring diversification to the local market.
“Macau has been a gaming destination for more than 30 years, so that reputation is not going to be changed overnight. [Still] I’m very impressed with the properties in Macau right now, because they have [brought some] diversification,” he said.
That diversification has spread to areas outside of casinos. “If you walk on the streets you see thousands of people. They are not inside the casinos.
“However, cultural heritage must be preserved in Macau, because that in itself is one part of the experience that is unique,” he advised.
Nazarechuk also said he believes that the market will continue to grow. According to the scholar, the opening of Galaxy Macau on May 15 will help expand the tourism market, instead of adding more pressure to the existent competition between gaming operators. “People will want to experience all properties,” he feels.
Nazarechuk also believes that the territory should continue to prioritise education programmes. “You need to have an educated workforce and educated decisions, because decisions that are going to be made are multimillion dollar decisions that affect the entire community,” he emphasised.
“Manpower shortage and talent acquisition is a problem everywhere. Macau has a wonderful programme with the Institute of Tourism Studies (IFT).
“It is an example of creating people for the industry, but they cannot meet the demand because of these mega resorts that are being built in Macau,” he added.

Macau Daily Times