A government-backed bill proposing to revise the regulatory framework for hotel accommodation in Macau aims to raise the overall quality of hospitality offerings for visitors. That is according to the head of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes.
The bill already received a first-reading approval by the city’s Legislative Assembly. It is now under detailed examination by one of the assembly’s working committees. After the committee has issued a report on the bill, the document will return to the full assembly for its second and final reading.
Ms Senna Fernandes said the government had no forecast for when the bill could be put for its final reading by the Legislative Assembly.
The proposal suggests raising the bar conditions-wise in terms of investors being able to classify a local hotel as either “five star” or “five star deluxe”. But it relaxes the conditions required for opening a two-star hotel in the city, and encourages the setting up of other forms of “budget accommodation”.
GGRAsia asked Ms Senna Fernandes about the proposed revised requirements to classify a local hotel as either “five star” or “five star deluxe”. She did not provide details, but noted that the aim of the bill was to “enhance product quality” in Macau’s top-tier hotels.
Ms Senna Fernandes noted that the current legal framework regulating Macau’s hotel sector had been in place since 1996. “A lot has evolved since in terms of Macau’s hotels and their facilities,” she said.
“The aim [of the bill] is to enhance the quality of high-end hotels; while at the same time, setting out more ways to attract more budget-friendly [accommodation] products from around the world to the Macau market,” Ms Senna Fernandes said. She pointed out as examples capsule-style hotels and youth hostels.
Ms Senna Fernandes’ comments were made on the sidelines of day two of the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia 2019 casino industry trade show in Macau. She delivered a keynote speech at the conference segment of the event: the tourism official said the Macau government planned to continue working with the city’s casino operators to enrich Macau’s non-gaming offerings.
The three-day G2E Asia 2019 runs until Thursday at casino resort Venetian Macao.
Macau had a total of about 38,800 guest rooms as of March, of which 63 percent were located in five-star hotels, according to the latest available figures from the city’s Statistics and Census Service.
Some of Macau’s casino operators are in the process of either revamping their existing casino resort facilities, or expanding their Cotai projects with increased lodging capacity to come online starting next year.
A number of investment analysts covering the Macau gaming sector has suggested that hotel capacity constraints and pricing are a potential brake on the growth of mass-market tourism in Macau. A five-star hotel room in the Macau casino-hotel market is typically more expensive than equivalent accommodation in the world’s other major casino hub, Las Vegas, Nevada, in the United States.
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