The average occupancy rate of Macau’s 106 hotels and guesthouses fell by 0.9 percentage points to 76.5 percent in March, the Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC) said on Thursday.
According to a DSEC statement, the number of hotels and guesthouses rose by seven from March last year. The number of guestrooms rose by 4,000, or 13.6 percent, to 32,000 at the end of last month from the same period of last year.
Guest rooms of 5-star hotels (20,000) and 4-star hotels (8,000) rose by 11.7 per cent and 28.4 per cent respectively.
A total of 893,000 guests checked into the city’s hotels and guesthouses in March, up by 12.7 per cent year-on-year. Guests from the mainland rose by 9.8 per cent to 557,000, while guests from Hong Kong surged by 44.7 per cent to 145,000.
Mainlanders accounted for 62.4 per cent of all guests last month.
Guests’ average length of stay remained unchanged at 1.4 nights year-on-year.
In the first quarter, the hospitality industry recorded 2.66 million guests, up 13.4 percent year-on-year.
For Macau resident, António Leong, photography is just a hobby, but this hasn’t stopped his shots being selected as editor’s picks by National Geographic.
He’s amassed quite a following on social media too with over 12,000 likes for his Facebook page Antonius Photoscript. Wednesday marked the start of his first photo exhibition in Macau, La Vie en Macau.
A government worker by day, Leong first realised photography was to be his hobby of choice when he went on a photography trip to Guilin.
“Macau is small and convenient to travel around and I can go to several different spots within 30 minutes to get different kinds of pictures,” he says.
Ultimately he hopes to present a different picture to the Macau most people know of these days; a city synonymous with extravagant casinos.
“I think photography can help people to rediscover the beauty of our city,” says Leong. “Macau is famous as a gambling city, but I hope I can show some different perspectives of our town with my images.”
“Macau is a small town and sometimes I feel exhausted as I keep taking some similar images, but when some of them got selected with their editors, it really motivates me to find new ways to capture another whole new series.”
In recent months some of his images have been turned into a set of postcards and sold throughout Macau. “I feel happy when I hear people approach me to let me know that my pictures really touched them and help them to remember some of their childhood memories.”
So whether its visitors to the city buying souvenir postcards or locals reliving memories of Macau through Leong’s lens, his images are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Leong’s photo exhibition La Vie en Macau runs from 27th April – 11th June 2016.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 12:00 to 20:00 Monday from 15:00 to 20:00
Exhibition Venue: Albergue SCM – A2 Gallery, Calçada da Igreja de São Lázaro No.8, Macau
Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak said on Wednesday that the local government strongly objected to a human rights report published by the US government recently, describing it as “irresponsible gossip”.
Wong made the remarks on the sidelines of an awards ceremony for firefighters at the Fire Services Bureau (CB) headquarters in Nam Van.
The US State Department recently published its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015. Concerning Macau, it says that there were “prominent” human rights problems reported during the year, including limits on citizens’ ability to change their government, as well as constraints on press and academic freedom, and the failure to fully enforce laws regarding workers’ rights.
The report also raised human trafficking in Macau, claiming that although authorities were building capacity to pursue such cases, and while there were continuing concerns that national security legislation could compromise various civil liberties, local prosecutors had filed no human trafficking cases last year.
Speaking on Wednesday, Wong said the government strongly objected to the report, adding that he disagreed completely with the content. Wong also said that every government entity was working in accordance with local laws and regulations, and would protect the lawful rights and interests of all residents and non-locals in Macau.
“It is unreasonable for another country to comment on the situation of Macau,” Wong said, adding, “This can even be called irresponsible gossip, as the [report] is inappropriate and inaccurate.”
SJM Managing Director Angela Leong On Kei and Wynn Macau Executive Director Linda Chen said that they believe that Macau’s six gaming operators’ revenue from non-gaming business will exceed nine per cent of their total income by 2020, 2.4 percentage points up from 2014.
The government laid down the goal for the city’s gaming operators in its proposal for Macau’s first Five-Year Development Plan, which was released on Tuesday.
“As long as we [the six gaming operators] co-operate with each other, I believe we will achieve it. The government has set the goal. I think the six gaming companies will give their vigorous support,” Leong said, adding that she did not consider that it would be difficult for SJM to meet the goal.
Meanwhile, Chen said that Wynn Macau would “definitely” achieve the goal.
“Every company in Macau should follow the overall direction the government has given us, continue to work together and keep increasing the percentage.”
She also said the city’s gaming operators should focus more on improving the quality of their tourism services, rather than the proportion of their non-gaming revenue.
In 2014, the six operators’ income from non-gaming revenue stood at 6.6 per cent of their total income, according to the government’s proposed 5-Year Development Plan.
Think tank head Lao Pun Lap said he hoped the government’s first ever Five-Year Development Plan will become a “joint action agenda” for the government and the community at large, adding that the government would adopt “more open, transparent and interactive” ways to collect public opinion on the plan.
Lao, who heads the government’s Policy Research Office, made the remarks during a press conference at Government Headquarters.
Government officials – Lao, Lei Ngan Leng and U Man Fong, both advisors to the office of Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On, and Peter Ung Hoi Ian, vice-director of the Policy Research Office – jointly presided over the press conference to announce the proposed Five-Year Development Plan (2016-2020).
According to information released on Tuesday, the plan aims to lay down a blueprint for how the city can achieve its aims of becoming a world centre of tourism and leisure, and a trade and economic co-operation service platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries (collectively known as “centre and platform” policies).
The office carried out a public consultation last year on the incipient version of the plan and received 564 opinions and suggestions from civic associations and residents during the three-month consultation period, which began on November 17.
The government says in the plan’s draft version that in order to transform Macau into a city with an international standard of living and working conditions, transport, tourism and entertainment, it will endeavour to realise seven development goals: maintaining steady economic growth, improving the city’s industrial structure, transforming Macau into a world centre of tourism and leisure, enhancing the quality of residents’ livelihoods, raising education standards, stepping up environmental protection, and improving governance efficiency, according to the press conference.
Responding to reporters’ questions as to why the plan did not include specific indicators to show how the goals could be achieved, and that some residents were worried that the government might be unable to achieve the plan’s seven aims, Lao said that since the plan is focused on setting development goals, “no specific data or indictors are given”.
“The draft is not the final version …it [the plan] will be better after absorbing public opinion. There will be a special group tasked with analysing public opinion and reflect residents’ views to the Committee for the Development of the World Centre of Tourism and Leisure,” Lao said.
“After more public opinion has been collected about the plan …I believe the plan will become a joint action agenda [for the community and the government],” Lao added.
Macau’s first five-year draft plan says the Island Hospital will only be ready after 2019, at least three years behind schedule.
Last December, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam went to the Legislative Assembly and pledged to have the city’s second public hospital ready by 2019.
A few months later, the government has admitted that the main hospital building will not be ready on time.
That’s one of the many infrastructure projects mentioned in Macau’s first five-year draft plan, which was unveiled on Tuesday.
The plan sets 2019 as a particularly busy year, with the Light Rapid Transit system starting its trial run and the fourth bridge to Taipa being completed.
The new border with Zhuhai should be close to completion by then, though it will later include a complex with government services and public housing, to be ready by 2023.
Despite public pressure on housing, the only pledge was the allocation of 3,800 social homes by 2018.
The draft released on Tuesday will now be up for a two-month public consultation.
The 28-nation European Union (EU) says in its annual Macau report that “the functioning of the government needs to be modernised and made more efficient.”
The European Commission also says in its Annual Report 2015 that “the EU encourages the Macau authorities to consider ways to promote greater public involvement in the election of the chief executive, thereby enhancing the legitimacy of the position and contributing to good governance.”
The report was released in Brussels on Monday.
The report praises the Macau government for having “made substantial efforts to combat cross-border crime, in particular human trafficking.”
However, the report also says that “Macau has not effectively enforced freedom of association and collective bargaining as enshrined in the International Labour Organisation Conventions.”
The report warns that “Macau remains vulnerable to money laundering as its massive gaming sector provides avenues for illegal money flowing out of the mainland.”
The report points out that “Macau has responded to the global call for action against tax evasion.”
The economic plan of Guangdong province for the next five years sees an important role for Macau and Hong Kong and closer integration – but this is opposed by a substantial part of the Hong Kong population.
The central government has approved the provincial government’s plan to make Guangzhou an international trade centre and regional transport hub by 2020 with a target population of 18 million people.
At the end of January, the provincial government published its plan for the 2016-2020 period. It calls for an annual average GDP growth rate of seven per cent, with GDP reaching 11 trillion yuan by 2020, with a per capita GDP of 100,000 yuan. By 2020, it will switch its development mode to a ‘Green and Low-Carbon Society’.
The airports of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai will be expanded, with the first two improving their role as an international hub. The plan encourages high-tech zones, the establishment of single industry towns, new research institutes and large-scale industries to build incubating chains.
It will create a one-hour transport circle connecting cities in the Pearl River Delta. It will also extend the high-speed train network in the province by 1,350 km with six new lines.
The plan sees closer integration with Macau and Hong Kong, in transport, investment and industry, exchanges of people and goods and other sectors.
The plan says, for example, that it will open the medical service market and invite modern management from Macau and Hong Kong. It will support firms from the two SARs to establish joint venture, co-operative and wholly owned hospitals and pension agencies.
In his policy address for fiscal 2016, Chief Executive Chui Sai On laid out a five-year plan, a first for Macau, to coincide with those of the central government and Guangdong. The plan includes new links between Macau and Guangdong, such as a traditional Chinese medicine technology industry in Hengqin.
Chui said that the government would gradually invest part of its fiscal reserve in large-scale construction projects in Guangdong and Fujian provinces, and elsewhere, to guarantee returns on the value of the reserves. Macau will also actively seek development opportunities in the trade zones in Hengqin and Nansha.
In Document 36 issued on February 22, the State Council described the trade zones as places “to explore a new co-operative model between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau” and a “important hub for the Maritime Silk Road”. It also said the transport links between the three places should become a unified system.
The 42-km bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai is due to be finished at the end of 2017, at a cost of HK$35.8 billion, one year behind schedule. Another important link is the high-speed train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, due to be completed in the third quarter of 2018.
Many people in Hong Kong oppose these two projects, regarding them as a colossal waste of money and resources which the city does not need. They do not want closer integration with Guangdong, fearing the loss of the city’s distinct identity and legal independence.
The business community, on the other hand, is studying the Guangdong plan carefully for opportunities which it can take. The retail sector is looking especially at Qianhai, a special zone in Shenzhen; it is building there large shopping malls which can offer goods at prices lower than elsewhere in the mainland – but still higher than Hong Kong. These malls are attracting shoppers who prefer to buy there than cross the border to Hong Kong.
Attempting to forecast the future of Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR), without considering it within the framework of People’s Republic of China (China) is doomed to fail. Inversely, perhaps what is worthy to ponder, is to anticipate the future of MSAR in the context of trend denominated “China going global”, within the agenda of the much talked “one belt, one road” initiative, as a substantial target for China’s foreign commercial policy. Undeniably, the world will be a different place due to the current Chinese plans to transform worldwide flows of interconnectedness, and this fact will trigger consider global structural transformation. Definitely, modern China is entering in a phase of national renewal and reform to change its production paradigm based on the following criteria: Infrastructure, environmental sustainability, quality & competitiveness, regional stability, and inclusive social responsibility.
The year 2008 stands as a token of Chinese national revival, capitalizing on the success of the Beijing Olympics. Undeniably, after a century of humiliations (1840-1940), China has learned a decisive lesson, and therefore has acquired a sense of pride, departing from the fact that CCP State policies are lifting millions out of poverty, are lessening social inequality, and are increasing the overall living standards. China has indeed understood how to combine essential values springing out from Confucianism and Socialism, such as ancestors’ reverence and family centrality, with the crucial requirement that relates State economic empowerment to State social development. This line of reasoning, sets the scene, represents the long reach beacon guiding the future of MSAR, and provides sense to a dual smart formula designed by Deng Xiaoping: on the one hand, political sovereignty and economic independence are inseparable, and on the other hand, political statehood is grounded on “one country, two systems” principle.
MSAR retrocession to Chinese sovereignty is also part of national revival and therefore the negotiations concluded in 1987 with Joint Declaration of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Portugal on the question of Macau, represented a tremendous opportunity to envisage the creation of an “entity” internationally relevant and nationally integrated. MSAR contribution to the national revival is more effective as it leverages a positive differentiation from regional, sub regional and national dimensions. Remarkably, Macau’s positive differentiation has the potential to deliver a substantial contribution to current Chinese national goals.
By the same token, in what concerns the future of MSAR, there are three pillars representing that positive differentiation: heritage, specialization, and its international status. The idea of economic diversification paves the way to better understanding the future of Macau, but is has not yet been sufficiently developed. Actually, diversification must be understood in the sense of positive differentiation, departing from the three pillars mentioned before. Furthermore, the eventual sub regional integration of MSAR in the Greater Pearl River Delta (GPRD) region does not necessary mean economic similarity. In fact, Macau’s positive differentiation or at the best its ability to supplement that, gives sense to the dual smart formula designed by Deng Xiaoping.
The first pillar, the Macau cultural heritage, syndicates as a driver of positive economic differentiation namely departing from following aspects:
MSAR must be a player capable of building confidence in the business international chess game, and its domestic law, side-by-side with advanced dispute resolution mechanisms based on multilingualism, are standing as essential tools to achieve it. Moreover, this first pillar is the landmark of the Macau’s role as the “platform” between China and the Portuguese speaking countries, and perhaps in the future, between China and all the Iberia community of States, casting a close eye to the European Union. A platform has to be much more than branding and networking. A platform is not a buzzword. It must be a space of trust, reliance, partaking, facilitation, dialogue, perceptions, security, cultural identity, and partnership planning. A platform is an active ground to capitalize on what is shared. All in all, this sort of platform has to be a distinguished level “surface”, on which business and services opportunities can find a long-term stand, in order to significantly contribute to “one belt, one road” initiative.
The second pillar, the Macau business specialisation, has to be in line with the first pillar, and therefore capable of supporting it. The diversification for a small open economy is inevitably a protracted process with lot of uncertainties and difficulties. It involves a change in economic structure, which requires persistent and determined policy actions (Chan Sau San, 2006, page 27).
In this dimension, diversification means positive differentiation, taking advantage of regional and sub regional cooperation, as an unique economic services platform, departing from an important institutional arrangement and from tangible plans. In relation to the former, the following institutions are important players, in close articulation with the MSAR government:
In relation to the tangible plans, it seems that a clear idea about the future is governing the construction of the present, leading towards the constitution of another mega city of the planet, through the integration the GPRD. In light of this idea, the following are standing as foundational stones:
Macau’s economy is in some way related to the three new Guangdong Experimental Free Trade Zones (EFTZ): The first, is located in the Hengqin district of Zhuhai, will act as a financial center linking the Guangzhou-Macau-Hong Kong regions. The second, in the Nansha district in south Guangzhou, will serve as a logistics zone. The third, in the Qianhai district of Shenzhen, and with the completion of railways and roads by 2020, Qianhai will be within a one-hour commuting radius of the GPRD and within a 30-minute commuting radius of Hong Kong. The main arteries of traffic in the region, including the Shenzhen-Zhongshan corridor, Shenzhen Western Port, Shenzhen North Station and Guangzhou-Shenzhen Yanjiang Highway all pass through Qianhai. The rational of these zones is to integrate the GPRD, pulling together Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau into a single economic unit. Nevertheless, these EFTZs are not isolated examples. Likewise, China is developing similar zones in Shanghai, Fujian and Tianjin.
The outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the GPRD promulgated in January 2009 has consolidated the development direction of the PRD region as well as the positioning of MSAR as a world-class tourism and leisure center. In June of 2009, the State Council endorsed the Overall Development Plan of Hengqin and provided favorable conditions for deepening the trade and economic collaboration between Guangdong and Macao, as well as providing new ideas for the moderate economic diversification of the city. Furthermore, the signing of the Framework Agreement of Cooperation between Guangdong and Macao, the development of Hengqin Island, the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the high-speed railways connecting Zhuhai to Beijing, the expansion of Hong Kong Airport, will further consolidate the close ties in the regional Guangdong-Macao-Hong Kong area, and will play a vital role in encouraging triangular reciprocation Mainland-Macao-Hong Kong, in terms of economic cooperation and social integration.
MSAR’s economic diversification through positive differentiation must take into account the following areas, under the rational of regional and sub regional, differentiated, and integrated world-class tourism and leisure center, based on economic and commercial advantages:
In this regard, the future of MSAR depends upon its ability to construct unique, strong and respected public, semi-private institutions, its aptitude to create conditions to exercise responsible media, and to develop an attitude to persistently advance individual skills, respecting the millenary traditions of the middle Empire.
The third pillar, the Macau international status, should be perceived as an instrument of the Chinese sovereignty and national unity that gives international engagement flexibility. Its international status gives the required elasticity to be legally different from other subjects of international law, and for that reason, leverages China’s economic role at the world stage level. The widely recognised Macau’s International Legal Personality, defined by its social and economic legal international capacity, stands as one of the most valuable assets to the future of Macau, as Chinese territory with the remarkable international legal characteristics. Likewise, the design of its International Legal Capacity as a subject of International Law, tailors a distinguished role willfully limited to the economic, cultural and social dimensions. Indeed, this pillar has to be seen as the mechanism that reinforces the others, that makes the positive differentiation a major contribution to Chinese national unity, and above all, that credits China with another legal and political instrument, to endure a vast and comprehensive economic strategy, to explore global markets opportunities. Particularly, the MSAR participation in various international fora such as, agreements, summits, and institutions as “Macau, China”, holds an enormous potential to leverage the two previously identified pillars.
All in all, the Chinese long reach beacon gives sense and paves the way towards the future of Macau, as a unique non-sovereign territory, tailored to deliver social and economic expectations, and where Asian and Western civilisations truly need to endeavors. Regional and sub regional integration, differentiation, and international presence are paving the MSAR way, towards an active contribution to what President Xi Jingping clearly has put forward: the renewal of the Chinese nation is the greatest ‘Chinese dream (中国梦)’, for the Chinese nation in modern history.
Bishop of Macau
Stephen Lee Bun-sang is the current Bishop of Macau. He speaks fluent Cantonese, Mandarin, English, and Spanish and intends to learn Portuguese.
Born in Hong Kong in 1956, Bun-sang studied architecture in the United Kingdom, first at Oxford Polytechnic (1976–1977) and then at the London School of Architecture, graduating with a BA in 1981.
Upon his return to Hong Kong, he started working as an architect, but at the age of 22, he decided to attend the international Opus Dei Prelature seminar in Rome, studying philosophy and theology. He had already joined the Opus Dei Prelature in London as treasurer in 1978. Bun-sang then obtained his Canonical Doctorate at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. His thesis was on “Church-State Relations in the People’s Republic of China.”
Ordained a priest on 20 August 1988, in Spain, Bun-sang returned to Hong Kong where he began his pastoral work as a chaplain for local Opus Dei centres and schools. In 1989, he was named Defender of the Faith in the Diocesan Court of Hong Kong by the Bishop of Hong Kong, and in 1994, he became the supervisor of the Tak Sun School.
In 2012, he was appointed regional vicar of the Asia-Pacific region by the Opus Dei Prelature, whilst continuing his pastoral work at retreats teaching Catholic doctrine at the Prelature, the Diocese, in parishes and various religious communities.
Bun-sang was nominated auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong by Pope Francis on 11 July 2014, and ordained bishop on 30 August 2014, where his responsibilities included overseeing laymen, schools, communications, liturgy, and construction projects of the diocese of Hong Kong.
He was appointed Bishop of Macau, again by Pope Francis, following the resignation of Bishop D. José Lai Hung-seng on 16 January 2016.
Bun-sang says that he came to Macau “ready to learn” and with a “missionary spirit.”
Director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau
Paulo Martins Chan has been Director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) since December 2015, where his top priority is reviewing the gaming sector. He is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin, English, and Portuguese.
Born in 1953 in Macau, Chan studied at the former Liceu Nacional Infante D. Henrique School. He holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Macau as well as a Master of Law from Macau University of Science and Technology.
For 15 years, Chan was one of TDM radio’s most popular disc-jockeys, anchoring for the Chinese station Ou Mun Tin Toi. Chan has also been master of ceremonies for dozens of local programs and shows. Between 1998 and 2015, he was Assistant Prosecutor and then Prosecutor for the Public Prosecutions Office.
According to Chan, there are two pressing long-term priorities when it comes to gaming legislation: measures preventing money laundering that could potentially finance terrorism, and the regulation of over 140 junkets operating in Macau’s casinos, which requires that promoters retain the financial capacity and good repute necessary to carry out business.
Despite the recent drop in gaming revenues, Chan maintains that the gaming industry’s most trying times have passed.
As one of Macau’s most promising young professionals, Chan is approaching this new stage of his career with excitement and interest and is thrilled to be contributing to the healthy development of Macau’s gaming industry.
There are 400 million people on Instagram each month, but there are a few in Macau that deserve the spotlight.
They tell the story of Macau, the hidden stories, the unknown places. Their perception of what the city means to them.
Banish away the bad weather blues and Macau’s grey skies by putting the colour back in your life with some beautiful artworks being showcased around Macau these days. We give you eight options ranging from photography exhibitions to sculptures.
Until 1st of May
No Cruzamento da Avenida do Coronel Mesquita com a Avenida Almirante Lacerda, Macau
22th April – 21st May
Art For All
Estrada da Areia Preta, 52, Edifício da Fábrica de Baterias N.E. National, 3rd Floor, Macau
22nd April – 5th June
Macao Museum of Art
Av. Xian Xing Hai, Macau
27th April – 11th June
Calcada da Igreja de S. Lazaro 8, Macau
Until 12th June
Tap Seac Gallery
Praça do Tap Seac, Cultural and Social Affairs Bureau Building
23rd April – 20th June
Iao Hin Gallery
Rua Da Tercena no.39a, Macau
23rd March – 11th September
Macao Science Center
Gallery 2, Exhibition Center
29th April – 20th November
MGM Art Space
Avenida Dr. Sun Yat Sen, NAPE, Macau