Wilfred Wong: Macau “cannot just rely on gaming”

Sands China’s President and Executive Director, Wilfred Wong, has echoed earlier calls by the Chinese Government to diversify the gambling province of Macau.

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During a speech Wong gave to the British Chamber of Commerce in Macau, he told the audience that the six concessionaires “cannot just rely on gaming, because this is not healthy.”

Wong highlighted the need to attract more international visitors to Macau than just the gambling community. Over the next decade, the six concessionaires pledged as part of the licensing process to invest over MOP$20bn (US$14.8bn) into the region, which Wong said a significant portion of would go towards ‘non-gaming projects.’

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Macau has been hit hard by the implementation of several lockdowns, as much of the income from the casinos has dried up due to the drastic fall in international travel.

As a result, the reliance of Macau on gaming tourism was “fully exposed,” according to Macau CEO Ho Iat Seng in a statement he made in 2020.

Since then, the Chinese Government has intervened and pushed the province to be less reliant on gaming tourism, as Macau finally eases out of the Zero-Covid policy that crippled the business there for almost three years.

During his speech, Wong said that Sand China was heading in “the direction that the Government wants us to go in,” further adding that it would help Macau become a world tourism and leisure centre.

The move for diversification comes after other Asian destinations – such as Singapore – took significant portions of Macau’s gaming business, which had the benefit of casinos and other tourist attractions.

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