Sands China Ltd.’s 2021 Sands Shopping Carnival was successfully held at The Venetian Macao from July 23 to 25, welcoming over 110,000 local residents and tourists.
The free-admission weekend carnival at Cotai Expo featured over 560 booths and was the largest sale event in Macao, in support of the Macao SAR government’s Consume for the Economy initiative and consumption e-voucher scheme.
The three-day mega event in the city provided a free business platform for local SMEs and Sands retailers with an aim to heed to the government’s call of supporting local businesses amid the economic crisis of the pandemic.
Back for a second year, after last year’s inaugural event welcomed more than 100,000 visitors, Sands China added 10% more booths this year, totaling over 560.
The carnival provided an ideal shopping and leisure summer hotspot for families under one roof, and aimed to give back to the community by offering the best deals to Macao residents and tourists in order to stimulate domestic consumption and help boost the economy.
“Come rain or shine, Sands China remains unwavering in our commitment to uphold the business philosophy of supporting the growth of SMEs,” said Dr. Wilfred Wong, president of Sands China Ltd.
“We have not forgotten our roots, and are glad to once again provide a quality business platform – spanning diverse industries and fields such as distinctive shops, old Macao stores, IP-protected brands and food specialties – for local SMEs and Sands retailers amid the pandemic, thereby helping promote Macao’s image as a ‘safe tourist destination,’” the top executive added.
Gathering feedback from exhibitors and attendees last year, the company has made this year’s carnival even better in scale and layout, range of activities, and overall experience.
“The company is grateful for the continued support of the Macao SAR government, and our thanks go to the Economic and Technological Development Bureau, the Macao Government Tourism Office, the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute, the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, the Macao Chamber of Commerce, and all of the event sponsors and supporters,” Dr. Wong expressed.
NGOs promote good causes at carnival
The carnival is a crucial platform for entrepreneurs to gain exposure, but not all of them went for profits — some non-profit organizations (NGOs) were riding on this mega event to make a venture for a good cause.
The philanthropic organizations include Macau Special Olympics (MSO) and the Association of Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers of Macau (ARTM), two NGOs dedicated to offering support to athletes with intellectual disabilities and people with addiction issues, respectively.
This year marks the second time MSO took part in the carnival.
Hetzer Siu Yu Hong, chief executive officer and national director of MSO, said that the event offered a channel where the public and MSO members could get to interact with each other.
“We made ceramics products for this event, in the hope that the public can know more about the talents of people with disabilities, and realize that they are also capable of integrating into and contributing to society.”
Not only did MSO members craft items themselves, but they also played the role of salespersons to promote their products.
This gave them a great boost to their self-worth and confidence after receiving patrons’ praise for their artwork. What’s more, they could acquire communication skills in pitching their handiwork to customers.
MSO also partnered with Sands China to organize a field trip of “reporter program,” in which MSO’s young members role-played as reporters to interview Sands China’s president, Dr. Wilfred Wong, to enhance their communication and writing skills.
Over 20 MSO members signed up for the event, with 6-8 of them serving as salespersons, and 12-14 others as reporters. Siu said these experiences could help them fare better in society and in their career paths.
ARTM was a first-time participant in the carnival. The association enlisted 6-8 people to operate a booth titled “Hold On To Hope Project (H2H),” which is also a brick-and-mortar café that opened in December 2020 at Nossa Senhora Village of Ká-Hó and is run by groups who complet their rehab.
The H2H booth features fresh products like cookies, cakes and savory small bites, all made daily by ARTM members.
Augusto Nogueira, chief executive officer of ARTM, said that these members went through addiction problems related to drugs, alcohol, or others. During the rehab provided by ARTM, Nogueira invited them to have a go at this vocational project to run a café and acquire culinary skills.
He expressed that the Sands Shopping Carnival is crucial for ARTM, to allow his members to “be more confident, gain skills, face and feel graced by the people and gain respect. Also, Macau society can understand that people who use drugs are not criminals – they are people who made mistakes in life. And they need support from society so they can go back to the community successfully.”
Sands China also invited other NGOs to join the event, such as Fuhong Society of Macau, Everyone Stray Dogs Macau Volunteer Group and more. It enlisted 100 Sands Cares Ambassadors to offer on-site support for NGOs.
“Sands China is very pleased to once again work with local community groups to promote social inclusion at this year’s Sands Shopping Carnival,” said Dr. Wong.
A carnival for all
The 2021 Sands Shopping Carnival expanded its children’s area and food court, and added a Macao Original IP Zone and Green Lifestyle Zone in pace with social development trends. The carnival also accepted various wireless payment methods for the convenience of both local residents and tourists.
Carnival visitors enjoyed browsing nine zones at the 21,000-square-metre exhibition: Household Products, Parenting and Family, Gourmet, Food Court, Sands Retailers, Cultural & Creative, Green Lifestyle, Kids Area, and Macao Original IP.
The 2021 Sands Shopping Carnival was organised by Sands China Ltd., co-organised by the Macao Chamber of Commerce, supported by the Economic and Technological Development Bureau, the Macao Government Tourism Office, and the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute, and sponsored by Bank of China, ICBC, BNU, and Bank of Communications.
Chui Yuk Lum, vice president of the board of directors of the Macao Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Macao Chamber of Commerce is very pleased to partner with Sands China again this year to bring back this large-scale carnival – with COVID-19 largely under control in the city. We hope that this event will drive more large-scale enterprises to support local SMEs, in turn helping them navigate the difficulties brought on by the pandemic.”
Also, Sands China implemented a series of strict sanitization and safety measures to safeguard public health at the carnival and prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
Highlights of the carnival
Over 560 retail booths offered some of the best deals in town, including MOP1 products and discounts of up to 90% off from Sands retailers.
Food Court featured international cuisine, local specialties, and eco-friendly tableware.
“Play and Fun” Kids Area with inflatable slides, game booths, sports games and more.
Karaoke King Singing Competition 2021 featured adult and teenage categories, with preliminary rounds on Friday and Saturday, and the final round and award ceremony on Sunday.
Little Master Chef Workshop, a free food-prep and decorating activity for children led by Sands China’s food and beverage team, was enjoyed by nearly 400 participants who made donuts, pizza, dumplings and more.
What the SMEs say…
“This carnival gives us a platform to expand our market. [I hope] there can be more platforms such as this as it is good for local businesses. It’s quite expensive for [local SMEs] to spend on advertisement but this platform gives us exposure.”
RDS Fried Chicken | Heitor Madeira de Carvalho Che
“We are the first Made-in-Macau mask company. Through this carnival, we’re looking forward to continually expand our products. We expect an increase of sales during this three-day event. Through this platform we can introduce our products to mainland China customers.”
853 Mask | Amy Chan
“Thanks to Sands China, the public’s awareness of the shop has raised, since we also participated last year. Hopefully, we’ll meet our sales target this year. This platform definitely helps SMEs a lot. We really enjoy showcasing our products and being out there to meet new friends, partners and joint ventures.”
Bespoke Atelier | Olivia Lei