Macau’s Entertainment Industry is Rising to New Heights
Macau/ Venture/ Money

How Will Macau’s Entertainment Industry Rise to New Heights this Decade

How Will Macaus Entertainment Industry Rise to New Heights this Decade

Known as the "Las Vegas of Asia," Macau has been challenging the world-renowned American gambling hub, Sin City, for nearly two decades.

Just 21 years ago, the SAR government opened gaming rights for resorts to cater to the Chinese market of gamers in search of legal gaming spaces. Four years later, in 2006, Macau’s gaming industry sales surpassed the gross revenue of Las Vegas.

In 2020, a year marked by the pandemic, Macau outperformed Las Vegas by generating US$7.57 billion in revenue, compared to North America's US$3.61 billion.

Given the figures that underscore Macau's dominance over Las Vegas and other global gaming markets, a plan to diversify the city's economy and reduce its reliance on gaming was extensively discussed in the 2010s. This plan was eventually formalized into government policy, shifting focus towards non-gaming activities, specifically the entertainment industry. 

Blackpink Concert

With assistance from the six concessionaires and integrated resorts dotted around Cotai, Macau's Chief Executive, Ho lat Seng, and his government aim to attract high-end tourists seeking unique experiences, such as culinary adventures, shopping, and top-notch hotel services

What does it cost to steer Macau away from dependency on a sector that accounts for 50% of the city's GDP and a third of its employment? The answer is an economic investment of MOP108 billion - equivalent to US$13.6 billion - allocated to the entertainment industry over 10 years.

In 2018, the city's government launched the "Five-Year Development Plan for the Guangdong-Macau Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin," with the aim to cultivate a world-class cultural and tourism zone.

The city has been attracting world-renowned entertainment companies, such as Cirque du Soleil and MGM Resorts International. In 2018, MGM opened its US$3.4 billion integrated resort, MGM Cotai, which features a theatre capable of seating 2,000 people.

Macau’s Entertainment Industry is Rising to New Heights

The resort also includes a wide range of non-gaming amenities, such as high-end restaurants and luxury retail shops. Similarly, the House of Dancing Water show at City of Dreams Macau has been attracting tourists since its debut in 2010.

Macau’s Tourism Board ventured to Singapore in June 2023 to host the Macao Showcase, a collaborative starry event with Sands China designed to promote the unique blend of Portuguese and Chinese culture in the SAR.

The investments in entertainment and service sectors have paid record dividends. In 2023, Macau surpassed London in having the most five-star hotels in the world, with 22 establishments with full rankings in the city.

Macau’s Entertainment Industry is Rising to New Heights
Website/City of Dreams

Additionally, The Macau government has been actively promoting the city's gastronomic landscape. For more than half a decade, the city has hosted the Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau Ceremony, celebrating the city’s status as UNESCO City of Gastronomy and its close ties with neighbouring Hong Kong.

These efforts have been paying off for the city. In 2019, Macau received a record-breaking 39 million tourists, an increase of 10% from the previous year. Many of these tourists were from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. This year, tourist numbers are predicted to recover to 2019 levels by the end of year.

Macau's transition towards the entertainment industry has displayed promising results and is expected to continue yielding benefits, altering the perception of the city in markets across Greater China and Southeast Asia.

The city has made substantial investments in non-gaming activities, drawn in globally renowned entertainment companies, bolstered its culinary scene, and emphasized its premier hotel services. Given the government's sustained investment in the entertainment sector, the future of Macau looks promising.

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