Supported by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China, organized by Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) and coordinated by Macao Travel Agency Association, the 7th Macao International Travel (Industry) Expo (referred to as the “Expo” or “MITE”) was unveiled at Cotai Expo of the Venetian Macao on 26th April that ran until 28th April. The exhibition area is doubled from last year to 22,000 square meters, accommodating a breakthrough record of 835 standard booths in total, making the largest scale of the event since its inaugural edition. Various exhibitors also set up larger booths this year, including the Japan Pavilion run by Japan National Tourism Organization and the Thailand Pavilion imbued with tropical colors, indicating the high recognition of various exhibitors from worldwide for the platform brought by MITE. The event presented seven key highlights this year including the “Pavilion in Celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region”, highlighting the role of Macao in the developments of the Belt and Road and the Greater Bay Area, delivering the strengths of Macao as an exchange platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, as well as exploring gastronomy and sustainable development; the Expo also offered interactive experience combining both cultural, creative and tourism elements for the first time, besides the debut of a pre-scheduled appointment system to facilitate business matching.
The opening ceremony was officiated by major guests including Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao Special Administrative Region Government, Alexis Tam, Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Macao Special Administrative Region, Yao Jian, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the Macao Special Administrative Region, Yuan Hengge, President of China Tourism Group Ltd., Du Jiang, Inspector of the Department of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China, Man Hongwei, Secretary General of the Permanent Secretariat of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (Macao), Xu Yingzhen, MGTO Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes and President of Macau Travel Agency Association, Alex Lao, among other guests. 16 consulates general in Hong Kong and Macao and representatives from embassies in Guangzhou also attended the opening ceremony.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, MGTO Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes highlighted that the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area clearly indicates the support to Macao for developing an array of internationally-impactful MICE brands. She hopes that the Expo will keep moving towards becoming Macao’s annual international travel fair brand, endeavoring to widen tourism cooperation across sectors, fields and regions, to deliver more far-reaching impact internationally in support of building Macao into a world centre of tourism and leisure.
Exhibition doubles in size to exceed past editions
Reaching the largest scale ever since the inaugural edition, the exhibition floor occupied a doubled area of 22,000 square meters and accomodated 835 standard booths run by a total of 452 tour operators, tourism-related entities and enterprises from 53 countries and regions across Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa and Oceania, along with tourism bodies from Japan, Thailand, Jordan, Czech Republic, Niuē and other destinations. There were 74 exhibitors from eleven cities across the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and 35 exhibitors from countries and regions along the Belt and Road, while there were eight tourism bodies of Portuguese-speaking countries and 32 tourism bodies of Mainland provinces or municipalities.
For more refined planning and optimization of hardware facilities, the exhibition floor was expanded this year while exhibitors could participate in business matching at the venue, which provided greater convenience and enhanced the efficiency. MGTO held a special session of B2B Business Matching at the Expo (26th April), that encouraged participation of local industry operators for exploring business opportunities
Seven major highlights to demonstrate the multifaceted strengths of MITE
In this year of dual celebrations, the Expo highlights Macao’s advantages and what the city has to offer with seven key highlights as follows, striving for a new level of excellence and innovation based on the past editions:
1) Pavilion in Celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region: encompassing a total of seven chapters, the exhibition, from various angles and perspectives, demonstrates Macao’s continuous endeavor to enrich the diversity of tourism resources and products under the successful implementation of the policy of “One Country, Two Systems”. The exhibition also highlighted the travel destination’s colorful image and the progress of the city’s transformation into a world centre of tourism and leisure;
2) Foster tourism partnerships under the Belt and Road Initiative: Set up an approximately 1,000-square-meter “Belt and Road Pavilion” and bring together about 130 tourism entities/enterprises from some 35 countries along the Belt and Road for the opportunity to explore and deepen cooperation on diversified tourism products along the Belt and Road;
3) Develop multi-destination itineraries in the Greater Bay Area: Set up the “Greater Bay Pavilion” to provide the latest tourism information about multi-destination travel in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area; set up new zones including Zhongshan Street, Guangzhou Street and Zhuhai Street for sales of respective cultural and tourism products. During MITE, MGTO has arranged industry delegations from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Portugal, the United States and Taiwan Region to pay multi-destination familiarization visits to Guangzhou, Zhaoqing, Jiangmen, Macao and Hong Kong; the Alliance for Developing Macao into the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Tourism Education and Training Base hosts two panel sessions at MITE, entitled “Greater Bay Area Attractions’ CEO Exchange” and “Building Successful Careers in the Greater Bay Area”;
4) Exchange platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries: Set up the “China and Portuguese-Speaking Countries Pavilion” to deepen cultural and tourism exchange between China and Portuguese-speaking countries by presenting products from Portuguese-speaking countries, Chinese tea art performance and so forth; MGTO and the Permanent Secretariat of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (Macao) jointly organize the "Promotion Sessions of the Tourism Products of Portuguese-Speaking Countries" to introduce tourist spots, resources and products in Portugal, Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe and East Timor, so as to strengthen tourism cooperation and exchange among various destinations;
5) Explore gastronomy and sustainable development: An educational session named “The Great Green Food Journey" is held in partnership with National Geographic to explore the sustainable development of gastronomy;
6) Strengthen interaction and integration of culture and tourism: Set up the "Cultural and Creative Pavilion" which offers a variety of cultural and creative experiences, to extend the added value of cultural tourism via organic integration of culture, handicrafts, gastronomy and creativity;
7) Establish a pre-scheduled appointment system to facilitate business matching: Inaugurate a pre-scheduled appointment system to enable precise matching and business appointments scheduled between exhibitors and buyers in advance, leading to more effective outcomes.
Spectacular lineup of Japan Pavilion
The 360-square-meter Japan Pavilion is run by Japan National Tourism Organization together with 21 exhibitors including government representatives, tourism bodies, travel agencies, tourist attractions and hotels from nine Japanese prefectures, namely Tottori, Tochigi, Fukuoka, Nagano, Saga, Nagasaki, Miyazaki, Kumamoto and Kagoshima. An array of special activities are rolled out at the Japan Pavilion such as an encounter with Kumamon, traditional Japanese dance performance, shamisen music performance, Japanese destination presentation by travel KOL May Lam from Hong Kong, travel talk presented by ViuTV program host Po Yan, food and beverage sampling from different Japanese destinations, etc.
Thailand Pavilion draws visitors
Featuring Tourism Authority of Thailand and 16 exhibitors from Bangkok, Changwat Chiang Mai, Changwat Chon Buri and Changwat Trat, the Thailand Pavilion is further expanded this year to showcase a range of famous tourist districts, hotels and products from across Thailand. Spa experience, delicious snacks and exquisite handicrafts of Thailand are available to Expo visitors while Thailand travel expert Roger Wu and Thai celebrity Phakkasupat Pecharawiwat Aomzaa are invited to host destination presentations.
Cultural and Creative Pavilion newly presents interactive experiences
In order to bring a variety of hands-on cultural and creative experiences for Expo visitors, the event features 16 parent-and-child or teenager workshops under 12 cultural and creative themes: DIY Portuguese Tile Painting Workshop, 「Sticky」Water Mist Magic Beads Workshop, [Visit World Heritage] Workshop of World Heritage Brick Models, Workshop of Environmental-Friendly Portable Cup Sets, Leather Messenger Bag Workshop, Vegan Jelly Sculpture Workshop, Sushi Candy Workshop, Workshop of Decoupage Art Dishware, Best of Macau—Beads Workshop, Workshop of Preserved Flower Series • Letter Light, Best of Macau—Building Block Workshop and Little Hat Workshop. Interested individuals can sign up online at the website of MITE, or sign up on-site for workshops with remaining quotas.
Free admission was provided for public until 8 p.m.
The 7th MITE was opened from 9:00 to 18:00 on 26th April (for industry professionals) and from 10:00 to 20:00 on 27th and 28th April (for the public). Owing to the popularity of the last edition, the Expo had extended its opening hours (until 6 p.m. last year) to 8 p.m. on 27th and 28th April this year. Free admission tickets were distributed on-site at the entrance of Hall D, Cotai Expo of the Venetian Macao. Free parking was available to local residents at Hall C, Cotai Expo of the Venetian Macao during the Expo, while free shuttle bus service around four routes was provided between the venue and various points in Macao and Taipa.
Two grand lucky draws for air tickets and hotel accommodations
This year, the Expo held two lucky draws namely “MAK MAK takes you travel” and “Grand Lucky Draw” on the days for public admission. With purchase of any tourism product(s) up to 300 patacas and by taking a photo at the Pavilion in Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region to share on social media, Expo visitors could gain a MAK MAK travel card and enter the lucky draw “MAK MAK takes you travel” for a chance to win one of 200 round-trip air tickets sponsored by Air Macau to travel from Macao to designated destinations. The public could also fill out the lucky draw section of their MITE admission tickets to enter the Grand Lucky Draw for a chance to win air tickets, hotel accommodations, electronic products and other prizes.
The co-organizers of the Expo this year include Cultural Affairs Bureau, Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute, Macao Chamber of Commerce, General Union of Neighbors Association of Macau, Macao Federation of Trade Unions, Women’s General Association of Macau, Association of Returned Overseas Chinese Macau, Association of Macao Tourist Agents and Travel Industry Council of Macau.
For more information about the 7th MITE, please visit the official website: www.mitexpo.mo.