The Growth of A City: Macau is in a Transition Period Says MGTO Director

2012-06-19 16:00 1557

"Macau needs to grow, but we [also] need to keep our sense of belonging" says Joao Manuel Costa Antunes, Director of the Macau Government Tourist Office.'s interview reveals a city in transition and a man who cares for its future.

MACAU, June 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- After nearly 25 years in the job, the person responsible for promoting Macau to the world considers himself a lucky person. "I worked in the right place at the right time," says Joao Manuel Costa Antunes, Director of the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO). "Not many cities can combine state-of-the-art and quality infrastructures and also have a background of more than 400 years of culture, gastronomy and all the involvement that makes Macau city special, a city where people live in harmony."

Joao Manuel Costa Antunes, Director of the Macau Government Tourism Office
Joao Manuel Costa Antunes, Director of the Macau Government Tourism Office

In an exclusive interview for the Ignite Media Group's online video website (, Executive Producer, Campbell McLean asks Costa Antunes if Macau will be able to keep pace with the speed of change.

"Indeed we face a big challenge," admitted Antunes, "Because not many other tourist destinations have the growth rate that we have in Macau. To say that we are 100 percent prepared to accommodate 20 or 30 million [visitors] we need to be alert, our infrastructure must be enlarged and quality must be one of the priorities, not only to try to attract a larger number of tourists, but the tourists that come to Macau must have a quality experience."

Antunes, who was born in Portugal, started working in the Tourism Office in 1987 when Macau was still under Portuguese Administration. In 1999, the Portuguese officially returned Macau back to China; an event now referred to as 'the Handover'. "At that time we had around 7 million visitors and last year we had more than 28 million. This happened because China decided to open the opportunities for Mainland Chinese to visit Macau, but also because the new government of Macau decided very strategically to open the opportunity for international companies to invest in the tourism sector, namely in the entertainment and gaming, and it changed completely."

In 2011, Macau received over three million international visitors, which according to the Tourism Director, "is not considered a large number." But put that into perspective against Macau's local population, which numbers less than 600,000, and then consider a total of 28 million visitors a year (with higher numbers likely in 2012), it is easy to see how it could place extra strain on local infrastructure; a fact not lost on Antunes or the Macau government. "We have a lot of challenges, not only on the infrastructure but also human resources.  We need to develop all the infrastructure, we need to have more people in Macau." That means building new housing to accommodate the growth.

Antunes acknowledged that some projects in Macau are difficult to develop due to labour shortages. "It's not only our office, it's (across) all society of Macau. We are in a transition period. I believe that in some years, this situation will change and we can achieve and continue to develop the sector."

And Costa Antunes is not the only one who believes in the diversification of Macau. The city is currently ranked as one of the most popular destinations in Asia for travellers to experience a range of attractions from UNESCO World Heritage sites, to international resorts and world-class entertainment options. The city has also been broadening its appeal to families. Locally-based websites such as ( also cater to Macau's expanding tourist market - offering the latest show tickets, hotel deals and fun ideas for activities. Mitchell Tan, General Manager of, says "With a host of new activities, including the acclaimed show - House of Dancing Water, Galaxy Macau's world's largest skytop wave pool, and a selection of Michelin-starred fine dining establishments, Macau's attractions are indeed becoming more diverse."

So what is the next step for the man that knows Macau better than anyone? "I like to have an immediate, medium and long term plan," he said. "The future starts now and we need to be prepared for any changes,"

The 20-minute interview with Costa Antunes is available for viewing on the website For a copy of the transcript, please contact us at

AomenTV ( was established in 2007 as an online video channel and has quickly grown to become Macau's premier content provider and distributor of short-form video and advertising for online, out-of-home and broadcast media. Online videos are published in Mandarin and English and syndicated to major travel and lifestyle portals, including, reaching viewers throughout Greater China and around the world. Based in Macau, AomenTV is a member of the Ignite Media Group.

ABOUT MACAU.COM ( is the premier destination marketing and travel platform for hotel accommodation, shows, and travel products for Macau as well as Hong Kong and Southern Mainland China. The online content covers every aspect of the Macau experience from tourist and event information, to fine dining recommendations -- through the popular food and beverage channel - Tasting Kitchen, to shopping, resorts, and entertainment.'s services are targeted for Macau-bound travelers visiting from Mainland China, Hong Kong and high growth origin markets including Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Australia, Japan and Korea. is a member of Ignite Media Group.

Ignite Media Group ( is a growing media conglomerate of online, out-of-home and print enterprises dedicated to promoting Macau as a premier entertainment destination. The Group includes several market-leading media brands:,,, Destination Macau, EC-Ad, Directel Macau, Prism Productions, New Macau Box Offices, and Ignition, a boutique marketing agency with expertise in digital marketing, event management, public relations, and custom branding. Ignite Media Group is the exclusive Macau partner of several of Asia's Leading Media Brands including CNNGo, Foursquare, Groupon, ChinaMobile, Tencent, Jiepang,, SINA, and

Source: Ignite Media Group
Keywords: Entertainment Travel