Smart Tourism is a buzzword that people often hear or read about these days. How is it relevant to Macao? Macao has successfully positioned itself over the last two decades as a popular tourist destination at an international level, contributing to the robust economic growth of the city itself. To maintain this momentum, the adoption of smart tourism can form the basis for innovating the tourism industry, improving service quality, and providing memorable experiences for tourists.
Smart tourism technologies can enhance effectiveness and efficiency on three levels: the destination level where the government sets the overall tourism strategy; the firm level where the hospitality and related industries provide services; and the individual level where the tourists experience what the destination has to offer.
Building on the strong foundations of the tourism sector in Macao, the Smart Tourism team at APAEM aims to help Macao develop and advance smart tourism to benefit visitors and local businesses, to enhance the quality of life, and to support sustainability. The team will approach this challenge from three perspectives:
To fully leverage the unique characteristics of Macao in smart tourism
- Chinese-Portuguese cultures. Macao possesses a rare blend of Chinese and Portuguese cultures that has been in existence for over four hundred years – this symbiosis has left an indelible mark in the city’s landscape and on its fabric of life. Macao should make full and effective use of this invaluable treasure when formulating its tourism strategy;
- The Historic Centre of Macao as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2005, a collection of over twenty locations in Macao was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This elevated status has transformed Macao into a world-class tourist destination. By the same token, many sacrifices have been made in the city’s urban development to preserve this “crown jewel”. To balance the costs and benefits of the city’s socio-economic development, more efforts should be made to better promote and manage these valuable resources. Over the years, it has been observed that some of the sites are over-crowded with tourists while others are left idle. In this light, smart tourism can help to better inform tourists and channel them to different locations, giving the visitors a more enhanced experience while at the same time contributing to long-term sustainability;
- Integrated Tourism. Developing integrated tourism is one of the major goals of the Macao tourism industry. Currently, the average length of stay of tourists in Macao is relatively short. To expand the length of stay of visitors, it would be desirable to develop more diverse activities and services to entice multi-day stay. For example, Macao and its neighbours – Zhuhai and Hengqin – can partner together to coordinate cross-border tourism routes that can offer multi-faceted attractions. To facilitate such initiatives, smart tourism using innovative technologies can play a proactive role in providing a seamless experience for visitors in the utilisation of tourism resources.
To strengthen cooperation among industry, education and research
The Smart Tourism team at APEAM promotes closer cooperation among industry, education and research in the development of smart tourism for Macao. At present, many small and medium enterprises in Macao are producing related products and applications, some of which have been sold to the mainland. APEAM can serve as a platform where these sectors can come together to create synergies in areas such as talent nurturing and resource matching to support Macao’s needs.
To conduct in-depth research
To tackle longer-term challenges, a broader direction for development needs to be identified. To accomplish this goal, interdisciplinary collaboration with participants will be formed. The Smart Tourism team at APAEM adopts a systematic approach to identify the broader issue, and work with industrial and government stakeholders to produce concrete results.