Several lawmakers have raised concerns about the recent bid to transform Macau into a city renowned for hosting sports events and performances.
Several lawmakers used the period before the agenda at yesterday’s Legislative Assembly (AL) session to address opinions and comments on the topic to the government.
The lawmakers said the attempt to diversify the local economy by hosting sports and show-based events suffers from a lack of planning and was potentially rushed into without considering consequences.
The lawmakers said a lack of infrastructure inhibits Macau’s ability to host events that contribute to wealth creation as well as the generation of jobs for local residents.
Addressing the lack of planning, Ella Lei used recent examples to show that, more than lacking physical structure, Macau lacks experienced event organizers.
Lei mentioned the concert featuring musician Joe Hisaishi and the Macao Orchestra, organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau, which attracted 68,000 people to sign up for the ticket draw.
“As the concert venue could only accommodate a small number of spectators, many were unable to get tickets and were disappointed,” said Lei.
The lawmaker noted that although there are now many venues in Macau, some are unsuitable for large-scale events.
International-level performers have specific requirements in terms of venue capacity and, to make events profitable, there is a need to sell many tickets, all things local organizers should have considered, Lei said.
Lei also noted a lack of planning in the overlapping of events, noting that it often happens that similar events compete and create issues with traffic and crowd management.
Lei said a calendar in which events could happen often but not all at the same time is desirable.
She also critiqued the suppression of public transport during mega-events, stating that, on the contrary, there should be more buses as well as services on the Light Rapid Transit, which should be the priority mode of transportation to be used during these events.
Lei also noted the need for more economically priced rooms in budget hotels and inns considering that the clientele of events such as concerts and sports is, in most cases, very different from those staying at the integrated resorts.
She said all these elements should have been considered long before launching into the promotion and hosting of these events.
Lawmaker Si Ka Lon agreed with the idea of turning Macau into a city of performing arts and sports, but believed there was insufficient discussion and planning.
Si noted that during the Policy Address, the government had only focused on the final goals and intended outcomes of the policy, but did not sufficiently consider how to reach its goals.
“The construction of a ‘city of shows’ is an important factor for the adequate diversification of the economy; therefore, policies, complementary facilities, and the required talents are crucial for this purpose,” said Si.
“At this time, we must accelerate the creation of new spaces and forms of business for cultural consumption and strive to achieve the ‘1+n’ synergy in cultural areas, especially in the performing arts.”
“We must also develop exhibitions, shows, cultural activities, films, television, and even talent training, spaces, facilities, cultural and creative brands, etc.,” the lawmaker said, urging the government to act immediately.
Si noted that unlike Hong Kong, Guangzhou, or Taipei, Macau does not have an iconic venue for these kinds of events.
“In Macau, there are many venues that meet international standards and are important venues for exhibitions and cultural performances, but compared to the Hong Kong Coliseum, the Tianhe Sports Center in Guangzhou, and the Taipei Arena, Macau does not have a ‘reference venue’ for performing shows nor a standardized platform for ticket purchasing.”
“[This] does not respond to the needs of internationalization and causes dispersion of information about the shows.”
“It is expected that the government will take advantage of the shows to promote the in-depth and integrated development of cultural tourism and will carry out the coordination work related to the ‘City of Shows’ and the development of related infrastructure,” the same lawmaker said.
Si called on the government to clarify the definition of a “City of Shows” and disclose the applicable planning and policies that support the reaching of those goals.
Another lawmaker, Che Sai Wang, was less positive about the idea of turning the city into a place of performances and sports events.
Che spoke about the need to respect residents’ lives and their right to live a normal and undisrupted life, noting that the government seems to be disregarding several important areas of regulation such as the “noise law.”
Che called on the government to move disruptive events away from the residential areas and find a way to strike a balance between the development of the economy and the well-being of citizens.
The same lawmaker also urged the government to improve preparatory works, such as traffic and pedestrian flow, before hosting such events to minimize the impact on people’s lives.