Macau has been working hard to rebrand itself into a “party capital” amidst declining gaming revenue, and pressure for the city to diversify its economy.
In an interview with South China Morning Post, Paco Chan, director of a Hong Kong-based entertainment and talent booking agency said that Chinese gamblers were not yet taking advantage of the dining, entertainment and leisure options available.
“From what I see, they just have a bowl of noodles and then go back to the casino,” said Chan, director of Pomo & Stone.
While gambling is one of the primary intentions of mainland tourists in Macau, there has been a push to make the city an entertainment capital. Chan says the nightlife in Macau could be the winning factor for attracting more visitors to the city.
“We want Macau to be known for being the party capital of Asia,” Chan says. “You can come to Macau for clubbing and partying. Other countries in Asia might have casinos, but we want to really develop the nightlife here so that Macau is one of a kind in this region.”
The entertainment entrepreneur said Macau has a unique ability to offer more space than its rivals in Hong Kong, which has helped booked well known DJs and artists to Macau.
“I don’t think that in Hong Kong we could have booked a big DJ and have the club draw a big crowd and do good business. The clubs are too tiny,” he said.
In just last year, Chan said he booked a number of international artists to Macau, including American artists Chris Brown and Jason Derulo, as well as leading DJs Tiësto and Steve Aoki. However, it wasn’t easy building up Macau’s brand.
“A long time ago when I reached out to different artists and their managers they would say ‘Macau? Where’s Macau?’ They’d never heard of it before,” said Chan. “The first artist I booked for Macau took six months of convincing before they eventually came.”
The momentum has been increasing ever since. Last year in October, Melco Crown’s Studio City held its grand opening, attracting Pacha, one of the biggest names in Ibiza’s clubbing scene.
“We are getting visitors from all over Asia,” says Eddie Dean, managing director of Pacha Macau. “Every weekend we see it. Many say they have heard of Pacha Ibiza but never had the chance to visit Ibiza, so the next best thing is to come to Macau.”
“Hopefully, more International clubs will come to Macau. That will help build the identity of Macau as much more than just a place to come and gamble,” continued Dean.