Macao sees record visitor numbers ahead of art festival

Macao has seen international tourist numbers from around the globe at record levels – up by 21 per cent compared with the 2018 corresponding period.

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

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.

An expansion of annual festivals and events is another prime factor behind Macao’s growth in popularity, with events as the International Film Festival and Awards: Macao, the Macao International Fireworks Display Contest, the Macao Light Festival, Macao International Parade, Macao International Shopping Festival, Macau Food Festival and the Macau Grand Prix growing each year.

With occupancy levels above 90 per cent this year, new hotels are in the pipeline including the Lisboa Palace which features three hotels – the Grand Lisboa Palace, Palazzo Versace and Karl Lagerfeld – increasing Macao’s hotel guest rooms by 2000 when it opens later this year.

The news comes as 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.

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 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.”