Sands China urges diversification of Macau economy beyond gaming
Sands China’s president says Macau must attract more international visitors through non-gaming projects.
Macau.- Wilfred Wong, president and executive director of Sands China, has called for Macau to diversify its economy beyond gaming. He says the territory must attract more international visitors through non-gaming projects.
Speaking at a business gathering organised by the British Chamber of Commerce in Macau, Wong said that over-reliance on gaming is not healthy for the territory’s future development. Macau, the only jurisdiction in China where casinos are legal, saw a rapid expansion of its gaming industry over the past decade, with casino revenues coming to account for more than 80 per cent of the government’s revenue.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the industry hard, with casino revenues dropping by over 90 per cent in 2020. For the full-year 2022, Macau’s casino GGR decreased by 51.4 per cent compared with 2021 to MOP42.19bn (US$5.25bn). That’s just 14 per cent of pre-pandemic 2019 and the lowest yearly figure since 2004.
In response, Macau’s government has been pushing for diversification. Wong reminded the audience that Macau’s casino operators need to invest as much as MOP120bn under their new 10-year gaming concessions, of which the majority would be put towards developing non-gaming projects.
According to Macao News, he said Sands China was committed to helping transform Macau into a world tourism and leisure centre in line with the government’s vision. He identified the relatively low inventory of hotel rooms in Macau as being an issue for the growth of MICE tourism, comparing Macau’s roughly 40,000 rooms to Singapore’s 60,000, but said he believes “the worst is over” for Macau.
See also: Macau GGR up 33.1% in February
Sands China expands entertainment partnership with Star CM Holdings
Sands China has announced that it will expand its partnership with Star CM Holdings, an operator of variety shows in China, to increase its selection of high-profile entertainment events. The companies have been collaborating since 2012 and have completed over 20 projects together.
The expanded partnership will see Sands China and Star CM Holdings produce large-scale entertainment projects featuring live performances, interactive experience shows plus television and online coverage. The shows will include the latest annual editions of the China Music Awards and Sing! China Macao Concert, as well as Star Street Dance Gala 2023.