Gambling enclave Macau faces some stagnation and looks with envy how its US counterpart Las Vegas is doing. Business analyst Ben Cavender tells the Macau Business Daily how Macau can follow in the footsteps of America’s iconic gambling city.
Macau Business Daily:
Las Vegas was very successful in gaining different types of tourists, but Macau is still at the infant stage. Why is it so hard here to diversify the pool of visitors?
You’re looking at Las Vegas as a casino-entertainment-holiday destination, and it’s been that kind of destination for much longer than Macau has. Macau’s history is much shorter, so we’re still at the early stages of development.
Part of the challenge is that in many ways mainland Chinese consumers are very discerning, very demanding in terms of what they get for their money and what their experience is going to be, and so when they look at Macau they’re still seeing a lot of the development happening.
So you’ll see people that are saying: “We’re going to wait a year or two to go, because we hear a new casino is opening and we’re not going to go right now, because we don’t want to stay in an old hotel.” There are a lot of people taking a wait-and-see approach to see what’s happening.
The other problem is that, if you look at Las Vegas, they’ve been able to take their history as a town with organised crime and things like that, and turned that into a positive. They brand the history as being interesting, and people like that.
If you look at Macau, that sort of history doesn’t exist in the same way. People look at it right now and they draw associations to government officials scamming money and going down to gamble.
Part of it is doing a stronger job of looking at Macau’s roots, the Portuguese history, the interesting food and interesting culture, and some of that might get a little bit more attractive to people who are sort of looking for a more cultural destination.
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