Next govt to study shopping vouchers

Friday, July 17, 2009
Issue 765, Page 3
Word count: 592
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

What’s next after the cash handout and private healthcare subsidy schemes could be shopping vouchers as a way to stimulate Macau’s domestic consumption.

Chief Executive candidate Fernando Chui Sai On told the local tourism and catering industries in yesterday afternoon’s meeting at the World Trade Centre that if elected, he will study the proposal in his term of office.

A representative from the retail service sector asked Mr Chui what measures would be in place to boost the industry’s business volumes, citing the global financial crisis and the H1N1 influenza outbreak had triggered at least 20 percent loss of sales when comparing to 2008.

“Recently many small and medium sized enterprises and industries suggested launching shopping vouchers during this economic downturn,” Mr Chui said.

“The idea is through government funding, people can use the vouchers in all legally registered retail and food shops in order to stimulate domestic consumption,” he added.

Meanwhile, in response to a question concerning local airline companies’, namely Air Macau and Viva Macau, which had been going through a tough time due to the economic crisis, Mr Chui said that the government’s assistance would not be the best solution.

“Commercially speaking, the success of an airline is determined by the market and passenger source. The Tourist Office is always willing to help promote and expand new flight routes, but besides the government’s support, it also relies on the company’s own operation,” he said.

“The key is on the company itself… They have to review their past performance and see what they can improve such as the ways to open up new markets and the operation and management models,” he added.

Some industry practitioners were concerned about the lack of parking space for coaches, tour guides with different language skills and coach repair establishments in Macau.

Although not being able to give a timetable, Mr Chui said it would be a priority for the next government and discussions must be carried out with the public works department regarding the construction of car parks for coaches.

As for the shortage of tour guides with multi-language skills, Mr Chui merely said that it could be solved by training and was an issue mainly dependent on the market demand.

In addition, the Chief Executive candidate told the attendees regional travel would be a development trend and thus he, if elected, would push forward tourism cooperation with Guangdong Province and Hong Kong.

“Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau have their own characteristics and can complement each other,” Mr Chui said.

On the other hand, in regard to the catering industry Mr Chui agreed that Macau’s traditional gourmet had a strong foundation for further development.

“Since the liberalisation of the gaming industry, its proportion in the entire economic structure had been on a rise. But having one single industry which is too dominant isn’t a healthy and sustainable situation. Macau must have to go through the path of economic diversification,” he said.

“I hope to set up a financial reserve system not only for the sake of emergency purpose, but also to support [the expansion of] certain potential industries in order to achieve a diversified economy,” he added.

The Chief Executive candidate referred to the annual food festival which is held in Sai Van, and said that it could be a starting point for the catering industry and be turned into a permanent event in the future.

At the same time, Mr Chui said he would look into the restaurant licensing process and hoped to cut down the processing time by simplifying the administrative procedures.

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