Lately, I saw some advertisements referring to Macao as the City of Romance. I guess being a City of Creative Gastronomy is not enough to bring in the crowds, our little city needs to make itself more attractive to the diverse taste of tourists around the world. “Romance” probably opens up a good deal of diversity in attracting lovers to spend more time in this city. But what is it that is so romantic about Macao? What do we think of when we think of a romantic city?
Firstly, there is flowers. The reference to Macao as the City of Romance is related to the flower exhibition being held in Taipa. Flowers are often related to romance. Unlike in places which have fields of lavender or roses or other seas of flowers, Macao turned itself into a romantic city with a floral exhibition. We do need to give credit to the effort on ‘creating’ a romantic site.
What else does a romantic city constitute? A romantic gondola ride in the water city of Venice? Check! We have that in the Venetian. A kiss underneath the Eiffel Tower? We can offer that too. How about the Northern Lights? That we don’t have, but we created our own light show around the city. Over the years, Macao has developed different romantic destinations around the city. This may or may not be a step by step strategy to create a city of romance. But there is no lack of romantic sites for lovers to take photos or create romantic memories. However, we seem to have forgotten the natural part of romantic Macao.
Without all these gondola rides, Eiffel Tower, light shows, and flower shows, Macao is itself a romantic city. The walk around Senado Square, Ruins of St. Paul, and other cultural heritage site have always been a romantic experience, without the need to cover all these sites with lights. I still remember Rua da Praia Grande when it was along the water front, with waves splashing against the coast. Before the seafront was turned into various lakess, it was one of the most romantic spots in Macao.
Following the development of the city, these romantic locations were replaced by shopping malls, hotels, and high rise apartments. Rather than embracing the originally romantic little city, we destroyed it, and then used a large amount of resources to create man-made romance. Obviously, there is no turning back on the lands that have been reclaimed, so we can no longer get back the Praia Grande as it was. However, the cultural sites are themselves also romantic spots, without the need for extravagant light shows.
What is really needed is to preserve the natural beauty of the place, and allow for space to appreciate the sites instead of them being crowded over. But that is the price for developing tourism. In a place which is seriously overpopulated, it becomes harder and harder for lovers to find a quite place for a date. Looking at the crowded streets with swarms and swarms of people everywhere. I’d say the most romantic places in Macao are quiet restaurants or bars with few tables and few customers where lovers can spend time with each other instead of thousands of people.
So, in the end, creating Macao as a city of romance should go hand in hand with creative gastronomy. Instead of investing in light shows and flower exhibitions which require large amounts of resources, why not combine our city of gastronomy with city of romance? We can develop dishes of ‘Light up Ruins of St. Paul’ instead of Baked Alaska, or ‘Gondola romance’ instead of Banana Boat. A city of romantic gastronomy may help boost business for the food and beverage industry, and perhaps lessen the crowds on the street, so we can once again see the real beauty of Macao.