Macao’s international hotel industry is facing challenges, according to the vice chairman of the Macau Hotels Association Rutger Verschuren, TDM reports.
One of these is around staffing. While the labour shortage is less severe than it was six months ago, Verschuren said there were still vacancies to fill – especially on the operational side.
He said the association had asked the government to allow hotels to hire non-local students. The proposal has not yet been accepted. Verschuren believes getting the go-ahead could require legislative changes, which would be a “lengthy process.”
“I think unemployment in Macao must be under control before this will happen,” Verschuren told TDM. “But I hope one day that students will have the opportunity to work in hotels as part-timers for maybe 10 hours or 20 hours a month, and not take away jobs from the locals, of course.”
Another challenge is around the lack of international visitors – in spite of the six gaming concessionaires’ efforts to expand their customer base, he said.
Verschuren welcomed the increasing number of budget hotels in Macao and said they were not a threat to the city’s more luxury options.
“In every country or city there is usually a healthy mix among the star ratings of hotels,” he said. “At the moment in Macao there is an oversupply of four and five star hotels … I would say that we would welcome a better mix.”
He also noted, however, that running a hotel was very expensive and operators needed to be careful not to charge too little.