The Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) kicked off today at the Venetian Macao, with more than 5,000 trade visitors expected over the next three days.
“I’m happy that Macao is back and I’m happy that visitors are coming back,” Sands China president Wilfred Wong told Macao News on the sidelines of the event.
Non-gaming tourism and economic diversification are expected to be among the dominant themes at this year’s gathering, which takes place in conjunction with the Asian IR Expo. The latter brings together stakeholders in the wider integrated resort sector, such as destination marketing organisations and travel companies.
In his keynote address, Wong said, “All six of us [gaming concessionaires] have been asked to invest in the future, not in buildings.” He said operators would target such areas as “MICE, entertainment shows, sports events, culture and arts, health and wellness, gastronomy, maritime tourism, and other projects.”
Wong added: “As integrated resort operators, it is crucial that we continually push boundaries and enhance guest experiences through innovation. We must evolve and reinvent ourselves to stay ahead of the curve and set the benchmark for best-in-class integrated resort offerings.”
Other speakers lined up over the coming days will be tackling the topic of diversification, according to the conference schedule, with sessions on sustainable growth and promoting Macao as a sporting and cultural destination.
The local government is keen to shift Macao’s economy away from its overwhelming dependence on gaming and the mainland Chinese market. As part of its plan, it is encouraging the development of different industries in the territory, including finance, technology, healthcare and an events industry capable of staging global sports and entertainment events.
The authorities have also required Macao’s six gaming concessionaires to make substantial investments in non-gaming infrastructure over the next decade as a condition of the renewal of their casino licences.
Wong’s said that Sands China’s commitment in support of official objectives was “30.2 billion patacas through 2032, including 27.8 billion on non-gaming.”
—With reporting by Gilbert Humphrey