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Macau targets Muslim travelers in diversification strategy

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Macau intensifies focus on Muslim tourism to diversify and integrate with culture, creativity, sports, and wellness industries.

In a dynamic move to diversify and enhance its tourism sector, Macau is intensifying its efforts to attract Muslim travelers as part of its “1+4” development strategy. This strategy aims to integrate tourism with other burgeoning industries such as culture and creativity, sports, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions), gastronomy, and health and wellness.

The overarching goal is to position Macau as a premier center for integrated tourism and leisure, while simultaneously fostering the growth of four emerging industries: big health, modern financial services, high and new technology, and conventions and exhibitions.

Commitment to Muslim Tourism

The Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO), under the leadership of Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, is actively prioritizing the Muslim travel market. Both the government and local tourism stakeholders recognize the substantial potential of Muslim tourism, encompassing both domestic and international visitors. In light of this, several proactive measures have been implemented to better accommodate the anticipated influx of Islamic tourists.

Growing Market from Indonesia and Malaysia

Indonesia and Malaysia are already significant contributors to Macau’s international visitor numbers, ranking third and fourth respectively as of April, according to MGTO data. Fernandes expressed optimism about the continued growth of arrivals from these countries, driven by the expansion of direct flights and targeted promotional activities. Notably, direct flights between Macau and Jakarta were inaugurated last November, with increased flight frequency to Kuala Lumpur set for July.

Expanding Promotional Efforts

MGTO is ramping up its promotional efforts in Indonesia and Malaysia, with large-scale campaigns conducted in Jakarta in May and another scheduled for Kuala Lumpur in July. These initiatives aim to raise awareness and interest in Macau as a travel destination among Muslim travelers from these key markets.

Additionally, Fernandes highlighted the potential for increased Muslim visitor arrivals from Mainland China. Recent measures by the Central Government have expanded the number of cities included in the Individual Visit Scheme for travel to Hong Kong and Macau. This list now encompasses provincial capitals such as Ürümqi, Lanzhou, Xining, and Yinchuan, further broadening Macau’s reach within China.

Engaging the Middle Eastern Market

Recognizing the importance of the Middle Eastern market, MGTO made a significant return to the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai this year. According to a 2023 travel behavior survey, there is a strong intent to visit Macau among Middle Eastern travelers. The survey, which covered the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait, revealed that more than half of the respondents expressed a willingness to visit Macau, with figures ranging from 53% to 77%.

Preparing the Industry

To ensure that the local tourism industry is well-prepared to meet the needs of Muslim travelers, MGTO has organized several training programs and workshops. Last year, the Islamic Culture in Tourism workshops were held in March and December. In February 2024, MGTO collaborated with industry partners to launch the Macao Welcomes You Training Programmes for International Guests. These programs are designed to enhance industry knowledge and skills regarding Islamic etiquette, cultural customs, halal-certified food, and the certification process.

Furthermore, MGTO was a business partner at the Halal Pavilion 2024 during the Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability Expo in Hong Kong, held in January. This event provided a valuable platform for the travel trade delegation to expand their expertise and establish contacts with suppliers.

George Diamantopoulos
 | Website

George, in his capacity as an intern, diligently oversees the flow of news, assists in the publication of content, and delves into the strategies of social media distribution. He is currently pursuing his studies in Business Administration at the Athens University of Economics and Business.

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