Macau and Hengqin Island collaboration to deepen

Hengqin. Photo by the Macau Daily. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MACAO, May 17, 2019, Macau Daily Times. The two neighboring territories of Macau and Hengqin are expected to have a larger role to play in each other’s development, but how exactly that will work is yet to be agreed by officials from the respective cities, reported the Macau Daily Times.

At a presentation yesterday, Yuan Hao, a deputy division head from the national-level National Development and Reform Commission, stated that Macau and Hengqin should collaborate further in terms of each other’s development, quoting Beijing’s desire to build the island into a “promoter of moderately diversified economic development in Macau.”

Collaboration efforts between Macau and Hengqin will adhere to five objectives, namely creating a business circle, building a consumer ecosystem, improving consumer environment, promoting consumer rights, and implementing competitive tax policies.

According to the capital’s plans, Hengqin Island will be transformed into an international leisure resort island. Currently, Hengqin is working to build various attractions, such as the existing Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, the world’s first Real Madrid experience center, and a project in collaboration with the National Geographic Channel.

In turn, Hengqin is planning to implement policies that will benefit Macau. For example, it is planned that Macau tour buses will be allowed to fetch and alight passengers in Hengqin. Work will also be done to facilitate yachts from Macau and Hong Kong to berth at Hengqin.

Planning is also underway to commence cruise tourism at Hengqin, and marine tourism across the various islands under Zhuhai’s administration.

Discussions will be conducted to set up a joint tourism talent education and training base between Macau and Hengqin.

The Macao Government Tourism Office’s (MGTO) Director, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, who was also at the event, said yesterday that another memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed with Hengqin. The MoU aims to clarify the future directions of Macau and Hengqin in terms of the development of tourism, including how the two territories will collaborate.

She also disclosed that there are plans to allow Macau tour guides to work in Hengqin after they pass the requisite benchmarks. This policy will benefit future workers, according to the MGTO head. Under current provisions set forth by CEPA, tour guides from Macau are already entitled to attain qualifications to work in the Mainland.

In closing his presentation, Yuan offered three suggestions to Macau: the territory should rely on historical and cultural elements to develop tourism; it should improve urban infrastructure and environment; and it should integrate with neighboring regions to achieve economies of scale.

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