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Govt should link concessions to non-gaming: Tourism expert

Glenn McCartney, professor at the University of Macau says that tourism development should become a key criteria in the upcoming race for gaming concessions in Macau.

In an interview with Tribune De Macau, McCartney said he believes that there will be changes in the casino landscape, and that there needs to be a stronger push for non-gaming.

The race for gaming licenses, which begin in 2020, will not be a renewal, he said.

“So it is open to international companies to compete and all should be evaluated according to the criteria the Government will use to give a numbered grade to each one.”

“An area that I think should be a factor, and that has been integrated into the competition for a casino license in Singapore and counting almost 40 percent of the award, is the tourism development issues, which were not included in great detail in the original contest in Macau,” he said.

McCartney said there is speculation that other criteria for the concessions, such as tax and financial commitments may also change.

“For me, there must be a reflection on what happened in the last 20 years, the results and where Macau wants to be in 20 years. The new competition is a fantastic and unique window of opportunity to present the vision and the path to the future of tourism in the Macau SAR. I hope that these criteria will be designed accordingly.”

McCartney said that although non-gaming elements in Macau have seen growth over the last few years, they still face difficulties. Much of this comes down to Macau’s brand image - which still remains on gaming.

“The rhetoric 'we want non-gaming' exists, but for it to become a reality it is crucial to have a brand image. While both parties don't work side by side on the issue, we're going to have fragmented communication regionally and globally, and within this is the context of growing competitiveness in tourism which will contribute to a lack of diversification in Macau’s economy.”

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