Sands to host shopping carnival aimed at assisting SMEs

The Venetian Macao will host a three-day Sands Shopping Carnival from August 7 to 9 at Cotai Expo, providing a free business platform for local SMEs and retailers amid the pandemic period.
Local SMEs and Sands retailers can register for nearly 500 booths at the carnival, occupying a total area of 19,000 sqm, which will be opened to the public.
Sands China Ltd. (SCL) president, Wilfred Wong, wants the event to be a platform for suppliers and retailers to combine efforts, along with the gaming operator, to overcome the difficult economic situation caused by Covid-19. The event can safely accommodate 9,000 participants in each session.
The MOP6.5 million project is fully supported by SCL and is directly aimed at helping SMEs.
SCL is paying for all expenses related to the event, including the venue, organization, and booths and publicity.
The idea of the shopping carnival “started off with a question – what can we do for the SMEs during this period? Many of our suppliers – about 400-500 of them – are SMEs and we used to do a lot of business with them. But during this pandemic, because we don’t have customers, the supply business has gone down,” he told the Times.
The pandemic has caused an economic downturn in the region because strict travel and border restrictions have prohibited tourists from entering the city.
According to the company president, by providing a free business platform, the gaming operator may be able to help SMEs do more business as activity in the city returns to normal.
“It’s really to help the SMEs. We don’t get anything out of it; it’s pure investment to make sure that at this difficult time we help each other. Also, about 250 of the stands will be given to the retailers in our shopping mall,” Wong disclosed.
According to him, SCL has 850 retailers, and many of them are “suffering.”
“The new electronic consumption payment of MOP5,000 will come up [in August] and we’d like to give people the best value when they spend their money. Instead of spending it on expensive stuff, we give them a discount. So, our retailers have promised us that they can go to as low as 80% discount,” he said.
The carnival will occupy five expo halls, two of which are for exhibition booths and activities, while three are for carparks capable of accommodating up to 700 vehicles.
In order to safeguard public health at the carnival, the company will implement a series of strict sanitization and safety measures to prevent the transmission of Covid-19.
The carnival will require participants to register online so as to limit the number of attendants. This will allow the event to strictly follow the government’s health regulations.
Questioned on his expectation on the attendance of the festival, Wong replied, “We don’t know. We’re going to operate from 12 noon to 10 p.m. So, assuming that each session lasts two to two and a half hours, you can multiply the number of sessions [four to five] by 9,000” at maximum capacity. Maybe less, but we will only take up to that number.
“At any given time, we won’t allow more than 9,000 people. The way to control it is to register people by day. Before the entrance, we will have an indicator of the number of people inside. Once it reaches that number, people have to wait outside,” he explained.
In addition to shopping, the event will include an international-cuisine food area, shows, lucky draws, 1 pataca products, singing competitions, and activities and games for children such as a “little chef workshop.”
The exhibition area includes a “parenting and family friendly area, gourmet range, food court, retail area, various Sands retailers, creative culture area, carnival game areas and household products.”
Commenting on the global trend of shops closing in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, Wong said, “I think individual retailers have to assess their own situation. Obviously, this is a time for consolidation.”
“Right now, only a few have closed down. We’re still maintaining a very good presence of most retailers because we’ve given rental assistance to them.”
The Sands Shopping Carnival is organised by SCL and co-organised by the Macao Chamber of Commerce. It is supported by the Macao Economic Bureau, the Macao Government Tourism Office and the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM), and sponsored by Bank of China Macau Branch, ICBC (Macau), Luso International Banking Ltd., and BNU Macau. Paulo Coutinho & Lynzy Valles

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