Ambrose So Shu Fai, SJM Holdings Chairman, said that Macau’s government has to come up with measures that would boost tourism in the gambling hub in order to help the struggling gaming industry in the city.
Talking about the latest gaming report, which revealed a gross gaming revenue drop for the 18th month in a row, So highlighted that the decrease rate “has narrowed.” However, he also made it clear that only time would tell whether the constant decline was finally starting to stabilise.
The Chairman said that the gaming revenue dropped, but he also reminded everyone that Macau “had eight to 10 years of high double digit growth” that was extremely hard to achieve. Such growth, according to So, was possible because of the “liberalisation of the gaming industry and the central government’s support of individual visit scheme.” At the present, Macau is back to normal growth rate and So recognised that as the “right thing.”
However, possibly the most important part of So’s speech at the gaming operator’s annual charity auction held at Grand Lisboa was his call for government measures to boost tourism in Macau. He revealed that the main concern for not having such measures yet was the fear that too many tourists could affect local people’s quality of life.
Nevertheless, he pointed out that Macau was a tourism hub and thus it has to be “welcoming to tourists.” Therefore, he believes the government should adopt “crowd management measures” that would make the city ready to take in more tourists.
In the first 10 months of 2015, Macau was visited by 25.49 million people, according to numbers released by officials. In comparison with the same period last year, the number of visitors has dropped for 2.6%.