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Tourism leaders call for rent reductions as ferry terminal tender comes up

Lower rents, they say, will lure more retailers to the terminal, improving the arrival and departure experience for visitors.

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Tourism industry representatives are calling for improvements to the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal’s commercial spaces, which they say lack basic offerings that visitors expect. They also want rents to come down in line with the amount of foot traffic seen at the terminal, TDM reports.

The calls come as a new operating concession comes up for tender. The current tender, currently held by Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM), expires on 8 April.

According to the Marine and Water Bureau, about three million of Macao’s visitors arrived via the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal during 2023. That’s just 35 percent of the pre-pandemic level, in 2019. The Taipa Ferry Terminal, meanwhile, has recovered to 77 percent of its pre-pandemic arrivals, surpassing 4.5 million visitors in 2023.

[See more: A new operating concession for the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal is up for tender]

Manuel Ion Rui Ferreira, a member of the Tourism Development Committee, told TDM that rents for shops in the terminal’s commercial area were too high relative to the amount of foot traffic. Ferreira said he’d like to see rents lowered in order to attract small local businesses that could improve the range of food and beverage options available to travellers.

The president of the Travel Agency Council, Andy Wu, said he hoped the terminal’s next operator would better utilise its commercial space.

There are 31 shops currently operating in the terminal’s commercial area, covering 65 percent of the space, according to TDM. More than half of them are restaurants and retailers.

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