Macau, Shenzhen to work together in tourism, culture, education

Saturday, November 29, 2008
Issue 542, Page 3
Word count: 1005
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung in Shenzhen

Macau and Shenzhen are to expand the existing cooperation especially in the areas of tourism and cultural industry as outlined in the protocols signed by the two governments yesterday.
Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah and his official delegation continued their two-day visit in Shenzhen, where they had a conference with Xu Zongheng, the Mayor of the mainland city and other municipal government representatives to discuss further cooperation opportunities.

Mr Ho said in the meeting that promotion of “integrated tourism” and establishment of a “regional service platform” had become the “spindle” of the SAR’s development in recent years.

Of which, he said developing “feature exhibition industry” would be the major focus and the SAR government would “fully take advantage of Macau’s oriental and western cultures hub” in order to facilitate the foundation of the development of cultural industry.

In addition, the Chief Executive recognised Shenzhen’s tactic of creating a “supportive environment” for its exhibition and cultural industry.

The 10th China Hi-Tech Fair in October and also the 4th China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair in May this year won reputation both in mainland China and abroad, Mr Ho said, adding Shenzhen would be a “learning model” for Macau’s development in the future.

Since 2006, the two cities had signed a number of cooperation agreements such as in the areas of economic and trade, culture, finance, logistics as well as inspection and quarantine, which Mr Ho said had all obtained significant results.

The signing yesterday in relation to cultural industry, education and tourism reflected a “continuous facilitation within the collaboration framework between Guangdong Province and Macau”, Mr Ho said.

“In the face of the global financial turbulence, we should reinforce the mutual links in a bid to enhance the level of cooperation and achieve a win-win situation,” the Chief Executive said in the conference.

“Such move will benefit economic integration, improve people’s livelihood and also contribute to sustainable development of both places,” he added.

Following the one-hour top officials meeting in the morning, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in tourism and two agreements of cultrual industry and education were signed.

Joao Manuel Costa Antunes, the director of the Macau Government Tourist Office; Heidi Ho, the director of the Cultural Affairs Bureau; and Sou Chio Fai, the director of the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau represented the SAR to sign the protocols.

Tourism

In the tourism MOU, it was agreed that a cooperation and liaison group will be set up and formed by officials from the tourism departments in Macau and Shenzhen.

Under the framework of CEPA, investment in hotels and travel agencies will be promoted and Macau enterprises will also be encouraged to run such kind of business in the mainland city.

Meanwhile, the two governments will jointly investigate complaints against tourism quality and improve acts of tourism violation involving both cities.

Of which, a focus will particularly be paid on “zero or negative price of tour packages and shopping scams”.

Also, a top tourism officials conference will be held every year, and promotional leaflets and travel information of the cities will be placed in their partner’s tourism information centres.

Cultural industry

In order to foster prosperity and development of cultural industries in both Macau and Shenzhen, the agreement was set out in the principles of “pragmatism, innovation and attaining mutual success”.

As such, a cooperation scheme was agreed to be set up for regular information exchange and relevant activities will be held in turn in either Shenzhen or Macau.

The two governments will also be obligated to inform each other about the progress and planning of their cultural industries, and arrange cooperation projects when appropriate.

At the same time, the parties will have to nourish exchange and collaboration in terms of cultural or creative industry as well as cultural expos and fairs.

Education

Aiming at lifting both cities’ educational levels, the agreement requires the governments to hold at least one exchange conference each year.

Each side will have to report its educational development and cooperation situation, contribute in coming up with solutions for challenges raised and also to review completed cooperation projects and study new ones.

In addition, the SAR and Shenzhen will have to look at particularly the area of non tertiary education, in which they can begin with establishing networks between schools in the two places.

As well, collaboration will be extended to training for schools’ management staff and teachers so that each city’s resources can become “supplementary” to another.

On the other hand, during the press conference given by Shenzhen Mayor Xu Zongheng and Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Chui Sai On after the signing ceremony, Mr Xu said there was a “huge space” for cooperation between the two cities because of their own unique characteristics and strengths.

In the view of the 26th Universiade to be held in 2011 in Shenzhen, a multi-sport event for univeristy students worldwide, Mr Xu also said that they hoped to receive support from the SAR, especially to attract participation from Portuguese speaking countries.

Meanwhile, Secretary Chui said Macau would welcome Shenzhen businessmen to invest in the SAR, adding the Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) would assist in this area and offer services for non local investors.

When asked about whether the current economic downturn would hinfer exisiting and future cooperation, both officials said they still had faith in achieving the goals.

Secretary Chui said although Macau was not immune from the shrinking economy, the government would “strive to minimise the impacts so as to secure its peoples’ livelihood”.

He also said that no evaluation as to what extent the global financial crisis had affected the SAR, but as tourism and cultural development needed a “long-term vision”, he would remain “confident” in what the cooperation with Shenzhen would achieve.

Before the official delegation returned to Macau, they visited the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Centre which is the largest single building in the city and also the OCT-LOFT Huaqiao Creative Park where the Chief Executive rested for a coffee chat with some mainland officials.

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