The addition of new tourist attractions, large contemporary international hotels, bars, restaurants and high-end shopping precincts is paving for Macau to expand and meet the growing waves of tourists.
Until October and of interest to families, MGM Macau on the Asian centre’s peninsula has erected a Butterfly Pavilion, a dome-shaped, eco-friendly greenhouse housing close to 1000 colourful butterflies from different parts of the globe.
At the Venetian on the Cotai Strip, also appealing to families, is the Fun Ice World where guests can meander on a self-guided tour to see copies of some of the world’s famous buildings – all carved from ice.
The newest addition to Macau’s Vegas-style Cotai Strip – Sands Cotai Central – has provided an extra 1800 international standard hotel rooms and suites for the growing number of visitors with a further 4000 set to be added in September with the opening of the new Sheraton Macao.
Apart from boasting the largest Holiday Inn and Conrad in the world, this precinct in reclaimed land linking the Macau isles of Taipa and Coloane, will have the world’s largest Sheraton brand.
The three properties, together with Shoppes Cotai Central retail complex, are all part of Sands Cotai Central that will eventually add 5800 hotel rooms, 10,000 square metres of meeting space and 100 shops to the global Asian centre.
Around A$1 billion has been invested in the latest project, its opening marking another milestone for Sands China Ltd (a majority-held subsidiary of global integrated resort developer Las Vegas Sands) in helping Macau reach its potential as an international business and leisure tourism destination.
More than 1200 guest rooms and suites make up the Holiday Inn with more than 600 rooms at the Conrad. Sheraton Macao is set to open its doors open with more than 4000 guestrooms and suites, and 9290 square metres of function space.
The rise of the new Sands comes at a time where Macau is booming with 28 million people visiting in 2011 – an increase of 12 per cent on the previous year.
In the first six months of 2012, almost 13 million visitors have converged on Macau, an increase of 8.51 per cent on the corresponding months in 2011.
Numbers of visitors from Australia are also on the increase, improving by 7.67 per cent compared with the corresponding January-June period last year.
“I can see this trend continuing as more and more hotels, attractions and activities are unveiled,” said Helen Wong, general manager of the Macau Government Tourist Office in Australia and New Zealand.
“While the UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Ruins of St Paul’s and Senado Square remain key tourist attractions for Australians, as too the Macanese food and Portuguese influences, there are many more things to see and do in Macau in 2012,” she said.
“The opening of new hotels, new shops and new restaurants will help cater for the growing numbers of visitors.”