Source: Macau Business Daily


João Santos Filipe | 24/08/2015

Two researchers from the University of Macau say the negative sentiment among the population towards tourism may end up hurting the main driver of the economy

Macau residents are increasingly feeling, and expressing, negative sentiments towards tourism and ultimately the sector may struggle with this reality. The conclusion is part of a study by University of Macau researchers Glenn McCartney and Winnie Lei Weng In titled ‘House of Cards – An analysis of Macau’s residents’ support for tourism and casino development’.
‘A decade of rapid tourism development in Macau has shown more residents are becoming irritated by an increasing number of tourists and resulting congestion’, the study reads.
According to the study published in the academic journal Tourism and Hospitality Research, this negative sentiment among the population may end up hurting the main driver of the Macau economy.
“The negative sentiments by Macau residents could impact the delivery of tourism services as many in the community work in tourism or live in a community close to a tourism location”, the authors explained.

Congestion problem
If on the one hand the economic benefits are acknowledged by the population, on the other hand the negative sentiment is mainly driven by the ‘new’ environment in the territory caused by overcrowding and traffic congestion.
‘This research showed the resident sample were concerned more about non-economic environmental and declining aesthetic conditions such as traffic congestion, overcrowding, and living costs with the hope of improved public transportation and leisure with emphasis on casino development’, the study states.
Not surprisingly, residents involved directly in tourism are also the ones demonstrating a better attitude towards the sector, as they tend to be more directly affected by the benefits. The other residents tend to focus their attention more on the social costs.
‘This split opinion suggests that fewer of the perceived benefits from Macau’s significant tourism growth and tax revenues to government coffers in recent years are reaching those working in other industries’, reads the study, explaining the reasons behind the divided views.

Diversified tourism
In order to address this problem, McCartney and Lei suggest the government take into consideration measures to influence and limit the community and environmental impacts of the growth of the sector in the Tourism Master Plan currently being considered.
The good news for the Executive is that the population seems willing to accept the growth of tourism, providing it brings non-gaming elements to the territory.