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Asian IR Summit wraps with talk about Macao’s global branding 

The three-day Asian IR Summit and Global Gaming Expo Asia ended yesterday after hosting 8,000 delegates and around 100 exhibitors
  • The challenges Macao faces as it tries to establish a global reputation were among some of the issues discussed in the final Asian IR Summit session

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UPDATED: 07 Jun 2024, 8:03 am

The Asian IR Summit 2024 wrapped up its final day of sessions yesterday with a panel discussion on Macao’s global branding. 

Akiko Takahashi, who is the executive vice president of Melco, moderated a conversation between the deputy director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Cheng Wai Tong; the senior vice president of Sands China, Devonne Iao; and the general manager of TVB Broadcasts’ business operations, Siu Sai Wo. 

Cheng said the MGTO has been collaborating with the six integrated resorts to organise in-person roadshows in Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, Japan and Indonesia. He also stressed that the MGTO has been taking advantage of social media to promote the SAR, noting that one of the office’s TikTok videos garnered 32 million views prior to the Jakarta roadshow. 

“The MGTO uses online and offline channels to promote Macao as a tourist destination,” he said. 

Iao meanwhile said that Macao has a wealth of offerings and that a coordinated effort to build a consistent image to the market was required. 

“I think the challenge is when we are trying to accomplish so much and tell so many things to the market, they can only remember so much,” Iao said. “If we can really brand what that overall message is for Macao or what the key proposition and the key selling point is, and if we can do that in a collaborative effort, it will probably move the cause a little faster.” 

Siu said that TVB had been helping to promote Macao as a cultural city through such events as the broadcaster’s 2023 awards ceremony, held at the Grand Lisboa Palace in January. “We can broadcast [TVB content] in the USA, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore and we have lots of social media platforms,” Siu pointed out. 

[See more: Macao’s cultural development comes into focus at the Asian IR Summit]

The topic of Macao’s target audience was also raised. Siu said that “nowadays, the composition of the visitors in Macao is younger, with more females than males.” This is in contrast to the mostly male gamblers of the past. 

“Our target audiences are not just interested in things, but also on experiences,” said Iao. She mentioned that Sands China curates its products according to the needs of specific groups, with social media playing an important role in assessing such needs. 

The importance of movies to promote Macao was also brought up, with Cheng stating that the MGTO is supportive of film productions in Macao and that film crews are encouraged to contact the office or the integrated resorts for support. 

Siu concurred, noting that “films and TV programs are the best way to promote a destination.” He cited the example of the recent hit Hong Kong film, Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In and the Wong Kar Wai directed TV series Blossoms, which have helped raise Hong Kong and Shanghai’s international profiles respectively. 

Meanwhile, Iao acknowledged that “product placement has always been an important part of our marketing and content strategy,” with TV series, reality shows and movie productions playing a key role. “In terms of encouraging film makers, we have done a film camp,” Iao said. The Sands executive also alluded to the upcoming Netflix film The Ballad of a Small Player noting that “we are in the production and prepping phase” of the Netflix movie that will start filming in the next two weeks in Macao until next month. 

The second edition of the Asian IR Summit was held in tandem with the 15th iteration of the Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) at The Venetian Macao’s Cotai Expo between 4 and 6 June. According to the organisers, the two events hosted over 8,000 delegates and some 100 exhibitors.  

UPDATED: 07 Jun 2024, 8:03 am

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