On 29 April, the Macau Incentives, Meetings and Special Events Association (MISE) hosted a networking event for some 60 industry professionals from Macau and mainland China — the association's first in-person meet since January 2020.
Held at the museum-themed Portucau restaurant which doubles as an event venue, industry stakeholders gathered to discuss their "concerns" about the future of business event, which Bruno Simões, MISE president described as "in a coma" until borders open up to key markets beyond mainland China.
"If Macau's borders continue to be closed to Hong Kong and other Asian countries, the business events segment will be in a sort of coma," he said, despite the recent spike in visitor numbers during Golden Week.
Macau also has a strong track record when it comes to pandemic management — there hasn't been a single confirmed Covid-19 case for more than six months. The entire city now works by a health code to enter public places, where mask wearing is also mandated.
Despite this, Simões — who's also the executive director of event management company, smallWorld Experience — highlighted lack of experience with hybrid meeting formats as another potential hurdle to recovery. "[There is a] lack of experience and know-how of local companies and professionals in the production of virtual and hybrid events space," he said during a recent webinar.
Currently, Macau's borders are only open to mainland China, with no restrictions on travel once travellers clear a Covid test, the results of which are valid for seven days.
To that end, Simões acknowledged that a small step forward is better than none at all.
"The Macau MICE industry is hoping for a recovery but the consensus is that this year is basically lost," he said.