Sands China Says MICE Expansion On Hold As Macau Gaming Still In Recovery Mode
- Sands China Ltd will expand its MICE facilities in Macau as part of the new gaming concession
- However, the expansion projects won’t start anytime soon as the gaming sector is just beginning to recover
- Sands China Ltd will be targeting foreign markets with their MICE offerings
Sands China Ltd has confirmed that it will expand its meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) facilities at the Venetian Macao on the Cotai Strip, with the expansion set to include a new hotel tower, but that’s unlikely to happen soon, according to Sands China Ltd President Wilfred Wong Ying.
MICE Expansion Initiatives to Commence in “Next Few Years”
Mr. Wong spoke at the recently-concluded Asian IR Expo + Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia 2023 in Macau where he revealed that they will enhance their MICE offerings, including the Cotai Arena, as part of the company’s promise to the Macau government when it was granted a fresh 10-year gaming concession which started on January 1, 2023.
The main highlight of the planned expansion is the development of a new 18,000-square-meter MICE facility adjacent to the Cotai Expo conference and events center at the Venetian Macao. Wong confirmed this in an interview with the media during the gaming expo, but he noted that it would take some time before they start on the project.
Taking into account the Macau gaming industry’s current state of recovery, it would not be wise to launch full force in terms of new offerings and products, Wong stated. In this regard, construction of the new MICE facility won’t start anytime soon. It would probably commence in the next few years, according to Wong.
Casino operators in Macau are just starting to recover from the pandemic, with analysts not expecting a full recovery until 2024. Wong said that their MICE expansion timeline will hugely depend on the pace of recovery of Macau’s gaming sector.
Sands China’s MICE Offerings to Target Overseas Customers
Sands China’s increased focus on its MICE offerings is aimed at attracting foreign MICE customers and tourists into Macau. This is in line with the government’s goal of reducing Macau’s dependency on customers coming from mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
Wong said they are primarily targeting patrons from overseas, including Japan, South Korea, and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region with their MICE offerings. When it comes to leisure, the company is eyeing customers from the United States and Europe.
Wong said efforts to attract more foreign customers into Macau will be boosted by the upcoming launch of a direct airside pass for passengers flying into Hong Kong International Airport. It will allow foreign travellers to enter Macau without clearing Hong Kong immigration first. The clearance, which is expected to be implemented in August, will enable tourists to link direct to Macau via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.