"Sports+" is an innovative opportunity for Macao's tourism industry

  With the successful holding of the Beijing Winter Olympics, the goal of "300 million people on ice and snow" has become a reality, and China's sports development has reached a new level.

On the banks of the Hao River, sports in Macau are also booming.

International marathons, sailing championships, Grand Prix... A series of special events have become the shining business cards of Macau, and also create new opportunities for Macau to build a world tourism and leisure center.

  "The in-depth integration of tourism and sports will bring greater economic and social benefits to the development of sports and tourism." Liang Sunxu, a member of the Macao Legislative Assembly, said that Macao will learn from the experience of the Beijing Winter Olympics and take advantage of the 2025 Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao To jointly host the National Games, promote the deep integration of "sports + tourism", and make Macau's sports tourism industry bigger and stronger.

Ice and snow sports become the new favorite

  Macau is a small southern city. Although there is no "favor" of natural ice and snow, the enthusiasm of citizens to participate in ice and snow sports and experience the fun of ice and snow has not diminished.

  In the MGM Cotai Video Plaza, Macau, a special indoor curling track has become a popular "check-in place", and many citizens have made a special trip to experience it with their children.

Aiming, throwing pots, brushing ice, under the guidance of professional coaches, the citizens participating in the experience turned into Winter Olympic athletes, and the technical movements were completed in one go, and the wonderful scores caused bursts of applause.

  "As the first large-scale indoor curling experience venue in Macau, although there is a gap with the real track, the ice surface is as smooth as real ice, providing citizens and tourists with an opportunity to experience winter sports." MGM Brands Liao Yingqi, vice president of planning, said that with the support of the Macau Curling Association and other groups, Shibo Plaza opened a venue during the Spring Festival and launched curling sports experience activities.

At present, 8 curling experience fields have been held, attracting more than 5,500 people.

  In recent years, Macao has vigorously promoted the development of sports undertakings by taking the preparation and holding of the Beijing Winter Olympics as an opportunity.

From traditional marathons and table tennis to emerging sailing and ice and snow sports, there are more and more opportunities for Macao citizens to participate in sports.

"If any sports activity wants to be popularized, it must first provide opportunities for citizens to participate easily." Liao Yingqi said that the opening of the curling experience event in Macau will allow citizens to have no equipment, no expenses, and no rent. Experience the fun of ice and snow sports and help popularize winter sports.

"We also plan to launch more sports experience projects during the summer vacation, so that citizens and tourists have more opportunities to experience the charm of sports."

Sports drive tourism consumption

  In Macau, sports are also combined with the tourism industry, becoming an important driving force for building a world tourism and leisure center.

In recent years, Macau has created a series of branded sports events such as the Grand Prix, the World Women's Volleyball Grand Prix, and the Golf Open, attracting a large number of "sports fans" to come to Macau to watch and visit.

  As one of the longest-running events in Macau, the annual Grand Prix is ​​a high-profile event.

In addition to the "speed and passion" on the field, the Grand Prix also creates a carnival-style event through a series of food exhibitions and other activities, showing the comprehensive strength and diverse charm of the city of Macau to the world, attracting fans from all over the world to watch the race in Macau, driving Macau Tourism income.

Statistics show that during the 2020 Grand Prix, more than 28,000 tourists visited Macau on the first day, providing more than 105,000 job opportunities, injecting vitality into Macau's tourism industry, which was hit by the new crown pneumonia epidemic at that time.

  It is understood that the Macao SAR government attaches great importance to promoting the development of tourism through sports, and clearly put forward the development direction of "tourism + sports" in the 2022 fiscal year policy address, and regards sports as an important support point for promoting the development of tourism.

This year, the SAR government has also listed the deepening of “tourism +” cross-border integration as five key tasks. Among them, with the superimposed effect of “sports + tourism”, further enhancing the competitiveness of Macao’s tourism industry is the top priority.

  Liu Dingji, a professor at the Faculty of Business Administration of the University of Macau, said that Macau can continue to develop sports events with high impact and differentiation, such as racing, e-sports, marathons, etc. The brand economic model of "events combined with theme tourism", through which tourists participate in or watch sports activities, prolong the time of tourists' stay in Macao and promote tourism consumption.

Relying on the motherland to innovate and develop

  The in-depth integration of "sports + tourism" to build a world center of tourism and leisure, Macau's development plan cannot be separated from the strong support of the mainland of the motherland.

  At present, the sports tourism industry in Macau is still in its infancy, and the number and quality of sports tourism brand projects are still insufficient. There is still room for improvement in the hardware facilities required to build sports brand projects.

In addition, the lack of construction planning for sports tourism and the lack of professional talents also pose certain obstacles to the development of sports tourism in Macao.

Some scholars said that Macao should seize the development opportunities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the "14th Five-Year Plan", actively integrate into the overall development of the country, and create more opportunities and more space for the development of Macao's sports tourism industry.

  In terms of policy support, the “14th Five-Year Plan for Tourism Development” recently issued by the State Council clearly stated that the integrated development of tourism in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area will be promoted, and the construction of Macau as a world tourism and leisure center will be promoted.

The "Overall Plan for the Construction of Hengqin Guangdong-Macao In-depth Cooperation Zone" also clearly points out that the development of cultural, tourism, exhibition and trade industries including leisure and vacation, conferences and exhibitions, sports events, sightseeing and tourism, etc. will be supported.

  In terms of building a sports tourism brand project, Ma Zhicheng, member of the Legislative Council of the Macao Special Administrative Region and director of the Youth Committee of the Macao Sports and Olympic Committee of China, said that with the development of the Greater Bay Area and the needs of Macao's industrial restructuring, the SAR government will promote the development of the sports industry. Included in the Second Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development of the Macao Special Administrative Region (2021-2025).

Create sports branding activities themed on the “Belt and Road” initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, build a joint competition platform, and co-host the 15th National Games in 2025 with Guangdong and Hong Kong, giving play to the role of the National Games in driving the sports tourism industry in Macau .

  "In the future, the SAR government will continue to increase the construction of sports hardware facilities, cooperate with the sports industry in the Greater Bay Area, create more sports brand projects, and attract more participants. At the same time, it will combine more tourism elements, such as cultural creativity, food, leisure and entertainment, etc. , enrich sports tourism products and experiences, and expand and strengthen the sports tourism industry." Liang Sunxu said.

  Jin Chen