A delegation of more than 30 Macao representatives visits the Palace Museum in Beijing on Tuesday. (FENG YONGBIN/CHINA DAILY)
The central government will continue to support Macao in becoming a world tourism and leisure destination, senior officials said on Tuesday at a meeting with a delegation from the special administrative region.
Luo Shugang, minister of culture and tourism, said Macao's tourism sector has a promising future, as domestic visits to the region continue to rise.
In the first half of this year, Chinese mainland travelers made more than 12 million visits to Macao, a 22.7 percent year-on-year increase, according to the ministry. In the whole of 2018, 25.26 million visits were made.
Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said the office will spare no efforts to support Macao in fully developing its tourism industry.
Luo and Zhang made the remarks while meeting with a 32-member delegation from the special administrative region led by Pansy Ho Chiu-king, general secretary of the Global Tourism Economy Forum.
Ho said that Macao has made great progress in its economy and tourism development since returning to the motherland in 1999. Inbound visits to Macao reached 35 million last year, about 4.8 times the number in 1999, she said.
"Macao has received great support from the central government and industry professionals in the tourism sector. This is helping to shape Macao into a diversified, stable and prosperous destination for travelers," Ho said, adding that more support is still needed to safeguard Macao's future development.
She said the special administrative region would like to have deeper cooperation with the mainland in tourism-related education, conference and exhibition planning, talent exchanges and marine tourism.
"We hope that the training base for producing talent in the tourism sector will be authorized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in the near future. Also, we expect more support to help develop the conference and exhibitions industry in Macao," she said.
During the meeting, Luo said he's happy that young people from Macao show excitement for and interest in the mainland's culture and tourism, as the ministry has received numerous applications from youth for internships on the mainland, and this is beneficial for talent exchanges between the mainland and Macao.
He said that future comprehensive and deepening cooperation in fostering talent - as well as culture and tourism exchanges - is being encouraged.
The delegation arrived in Beijing on Monday for a three-day visit. Ho said it's the first time that a Macao delegation has included representatives of major players in the region's tourism industry. The trip is also of great importance as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China and 20th anniversary of Macao's return to the motherland.