Firstly, let’s recap the successes of Macau. Like any other country, Macau has greatly increased its revenues through the promotion of tourism, especially since it has opened its doors to the gambling industry. Right now, Macau is considered as the gambling capital of Asia, one that rivals Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the world. Because of Macau’s success, it is not surprising to see other countries rise to the challenge and improve their financial conditions through the promotion of tourism, and one such country is Maldives.
The country’s tourism board has had a difficult start, what with natural disasters always threatening the tourism industry. Take for example what happened on the fateful December 26, 2004 tsunami. The deadly tsunami struck Maldives and has claimed a great number of lives, and along with the lives lost, tourism revenues were also lost. It did not help that many countries warned their citizens against visiting tsunami-prone areas, and with Maldives’ relatively late start on capitalizing on the tourism industry, the warning spelled disaster for the country. A big helping hand was extended by the World Tourism Organization though as the committee helped fund tsunami-stricken countries, Maldives included, get back on their feet.
In 2005, a world’s first opened in Maldives, the Ithaa. Ithaa is an all-glass restaurant set under the sea that allows a 270-degree panoramic vision of the underwater life, giving the diners an enchanting peek at underwater life as they enjoy a fabulous meal.
The expansion of Maldives’ hospitality industry did not stop here, of course, as they took their tourism promotion global, especially to the United Kingdom. Major companies as well as some of the big names in the hotelier industry invested in Maldives and established their own hotels in the country. This proved to be a very good move for both as the country experienced a tremendous boost in the number of tourists yearly.
The world soon took notice that, in 2007, its Adaaran Resort accomplished the ISO 22000/HACCP Standard along with almost a 15% rise in tourists traveling to the country. The Leela Group has also chosen Maldives as one of its sites for luxury projects. By the end of 2007, Maldives earned the name “World’s Most Romantic Destination” as awarded by the 2007 World Travel Awards. More awards came pouring in as Maldives was finally recognized as among the top tourist destinations in the globe.
With Maldives’ success, it did not come as a surprise to know that more and more foreign investors are investing money into the country. In 2009, the country’s capital city; Male opened its first international-class hotel, the Holiday Inn Male. However, just one year later, Shangri La purchased the Holiday Inn Male at a very premium price and re-brand and recently re-launched it under a new name, Traders Hotel Male.
Other properties are soon to open in the country in the next coming months, one of which is the Viceroy Hotel Group’s Viceroy Maldives this coming December. Six Senses Resorts and Spas, a luxurious spa/resort/hotel chain, is set to open Six Senses Laamu next year, on April 2011. It will have everything a guest will ever need to have one of the most relaxing holiday vacations of his life. Another property that is set to open this coming year is Anantara Kihavah, it is set to open its doors to the public on January 2011. Aside from this, The Jumeirah Group, the foremost luxury hospitality company in Dubai, is also going to launch its first resort, the Jumeirah Dhevanafushi, in Maldives this coming January 2011, too.
Between 2007 and 2010, numerous holiday resorts have opened in the country to capitalize on the growing popularity of Maldives’ tourism, and most of these resorts were visited by European tourists. However, during the past years, there has been a shift in the market mix. Nowadays, it is the Chinese tourists as well as the Asia-Pacific tourists that make up the majority of the country’s visitors. This is because of the current economic problems experienced by the European market.
However, there is a lesson to be learned here, and that is to know how to adapt to the current trend and profit from these dramatic changes. Really, Maldives’ tourism board has their work cut out for them as they figure out ways to entice foreigners into visiting their country, especially if they are targeting the Middle Eastern and the American market as well as the Indian market.
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The 2008 Mumbai Attacks, also coined as the 26/11 or the November 26th, has shocked the whole world. On that day two years ago, there was a widespread terrorist attack in Mumbai, the biggest city in India. The 60-hour terrorist attack started on the 26th of November and ended on 29th of the same month.
During the period of the attacks, eight areas in South Mumbai were attacked heavily, including the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower as well as a very popular café and restaurant, the Leopold Café. A hospital for women and children, the Cama Hospital, and a Jewish outreach center, the Nariman House, were also attacked by terrorists. Other places in South Mumbai that were included in the terrorist attacks were the Metro Cinema, the Oberoi Trident (a five-star hotel), the Bombay VT (a railway station with historic significance), and a street behind the building of the Times of India and the St. Xavier College. An explosion also happened at the Mazagaon, which is located in the port area of Mumbai.
All sites were secured by the security forces of the country, the National Security Guards, as well as by the Mumbai Police, and during the tragic event, the terrorist attack claimed the lives of 175 individuals and injured 308 more. The Islamic terrorists, said to be from Pakistan, were killed in the shootout, except for one who was taken into custody.
Of course, the said incident has greatly affected the tourism industry of the country, especially since the peak tourist season of the country starts on the month of October through the month of April. It was not surprising to know that, a week after the attacks on Mumbai, more than a thousand flights and hotel bookings have been cancelled, especially since countries from all over the world warned their citizens against traveling to India. Travel agencies experienced major drops in revenues, too, as the tourists and visitors to the city opted to visit neighboring countries instead of India. This is not a very surprising thing to do, especially since it is a proven fact that tourism revenues go down when terrorism happens.
However, it was not the tourism sector alone that was hurt by the Mumbai attacks but also the business sector, what with foreign investors as well as businessmen avoiding the country. It is a known fact that negative repercussions take place after terrorism occurs, so for months after the terrorist attacks, India’s business and tourism sectors suffered greatly as tourists and businessmen avoided the country, causing revenues from the tourism industry to decline.
During the year that followed the Mumbai attacks, the tourism industry experienced a decline of roughly 18% from the usual number of foreigners traveling to the country, especially since it has been found out that the attacks were aimed primarily at the foreigners. The first three months were the worst for the tourism industry as those were the months of mass cancellations, and no new travel bookings were made at all. Little by little, domestic tourism returned, but it took more than a year before international tourism improved.
The hotels opened soon after the attacks just in time for the holiday season, but they still bear the scars of the said incident. The hotel industry has learned its lesson well, that tighter security measures are being implemented right now. The airports have also tightened its security that any suspicious behaviors warrant a prompt investigation.
Two years after the terrorist attack, Mumbai commemorated the incident by holding ceremonies and renewing the government’s promise to its citizens to seek justice for what happened in 2008. Peace talks between India and Pakistan were greatly affected, but this will not stop India from demanding justice and asking Pakistan to hold accountable the terrorist leaders arrested in the Pakistan.
The United States has shown its support to India on a speech given by President Barrack Obama when he visited the country during his recent visit and paid tribute to the victims of the said incident. The President stayed at one of the attacked hotels, the Taj Mahal.
You will find another article focusing on terrorism and tourism here.
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Macau has a special place in history, it must be noted that this special administrative region is the first and last European colony in China. Macau is on the Western side of the Pearl River Delta near the Guangdong province in the north facing the South China Sea.
The Macau Special Administrative Region, also known as Macao, is a progressive place with industries in textile, electronics, toys, and not to mention that this region is a terrific tourist destination for people not just around Asia, but also the whole world.
Macau’s economy is built around tourism and gambling. Some of the other notable industries in Macau include banking, textile, and other financial services. Most of these export-centric industries of Macau has garnered more than 50% of Macau’s GDP and about 70% of their governments earnings.
Macau is actually a founding member of the World Tourism Organization or the WTO. Macau has remained the foremost trade partner with more than 120 countries and regions, including the European Union (EU).
Even in this economy, Macau is regarded by the World Bank as a high income economy. In fact, Macau has registered about 31% increase in GDP year after year since 2007.
Tourism in Macau
The most notable part of Macau’seconomy is the tourism industry geared towards gaming. The WTO reported on 2006 that the region ranked 21st in the number of tourist, and 24th in the number of tourist receipts.
From a mere 9.1 million visitors in the year 2000, Macau’s tourism sky rocketed to 22 million in 2006. Since the handover, Macau has been getting about 50% visitors from mainland China and 30% from Hong Kong.
The success of Macau’s economy can also be attributed to the end of the gambling monopoly in 2002. This end of the monopoly started innovations like The Sands Macau, the largest casino in the world in terms of the number of tables available.
Diversity in Economy
Mighty the economy of Macau may be, there is still an Achilles heel that must be addressed. The fact that Macau is almost solely reliant on gaming and tourism to keep their economy afloat, when the influx of people stalls, it can be a big blow to the small economy of the region.
The government is well aware of this weakness, that is why they are pushing for economic diversification on all fronts. Since the closing of the Portuguese control of the region, the government of Macau has been spending on different industries and a fistful of foreign investment. This will surely help Macau in case of tourism slowdown.
In this dark economic times, Macau is like a shining lighthouse in a horrible night time storm. It is reassuring to know that despite of the economic crunch, there are still regions in the world that is thriving and flourishing no matter what.
Macau is a ray of hope. An inspiration that all countries can look up to. Macau is a region in Asia that is living proof of economic security in this trying times. Macau has proven that it is not just a one hit wonder. It is not just about tourism and gaming to keep the economy afloat. All countries should have economic diversification, and Macau is proof of this system.
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I have gone out on a limb with this posting. I decided to broaden my horizons and looked into the current global economic condition from a generalized viewpoint.
The worldwide recession has left some countries struggling to keep afloat their economy. Even some of the countries belonging to the G8 experience the current economic depression. Different measures are being undertaken to soften its impact however futile. The USA, for example, enacted a bill that would be a stimulus to help US companies get back on track. But despite the efforts, the future still looks bleak. The IMF-World Bank has already made moves and has been continuously looking for ways to help the world from totally collapsing and repeating history as what happened in the great depression. Now, another possibility being looked into – China.
China as Catalyst of World Economic Growth
China’s economy, according to IMF, expands slowly despite of the hard times hitting other countries. Though recovery would probably be on its full course starting 2010, China doesn’t show at least bit of slowing down when it comes to their economy.
One factor being looked into is the country’s large consumer base. China, currently, has a population of about 1.3 billion. Second is the spending initiatives taken by China. In 2008, in US alone, the spending initiatives made by China would amount to about 600 Billion. Its foreign exchange reserves amounts almost to two trillion. The country continuously buys American bonds and stocks. These go hand in hand with the policy stimulus being implemented by the Country.
Can China do it Alone?
Though it seems that China’s economy could help the rest of the world out of the current economic recession, China cannot do it alone according to Jim O’Neil, Goldman Sachs’ Global Economic Research Head. Their study shows that China experiences the least strain in terms of its economic financial condition. However, China also experiences setbacks. Reports indicated that about 20% of the country’s migrant workers left the country because the companies they were working for closed or were shut down and household incomes dramatically dropped – indications that there is really no safe place to seek solace in these hard economic times.
How will this affect the growth of the hospitality industry in the Asia region overall?
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