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Tourism


incentives, conventions and exhibitions] et cetera are barely reported,” she says.


America’s Macau Mr Riches believes it is pointless to ex- pect balanced perceptions of Macau’s tourism assets at this stage of the indus- try’s development. “Regardless of any marketing effort, as long as the integrat- ed resorts, with gambling at the core, re- main the core of Macau’s investment as a destination, its image will necessarily be de ned by that,” he says. “The challenge is to embrace that,


and rede ne the image of the place such that it becomes the benchmark against which other such places are compared. The goal should be that people describe Vegas as America’s Macau. In purely  nancial terms, this of course, was achieved some years ago.” Mr Riches, a branding executive


in Australia and Singapore before tak- ing on a regional portfolio, suggests Macau’s strongest marketing appeal will come from combining its top two at- tractions: its heritage and casino resorts. “Ultimately, unless the historic-cultural side and the entertainment side can be reconciled in some way,


then I think


Macau is doomed to become a gaming and entertainment centre alone.” To prevent


that outcome, he sug-


gests the tourism of ce works more closely with casino operators. “This would include cooperation


stage, Hong Kong launched the Brand Hong Kong programme in 2001, positioning itself as “Asia’s World City”. “Brand Hong Kong is an umbrella brand,” a Hong Kong government spokesper-


If they can do it... U


son says. “The objective is to entice international audiences to live, work, study and visit Hong Kong.” Government and quasi-government organisations such as the Hong Kong Tourism


Board, Invest Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council all use the Brand Hong Kong or BrandHK platform to reach their target audiences. “BrandHK gives different agencies a uni ed platform to promote Hong Kong without


having to compromise their tactical messages. The bene ts are multi-faceted in terms of generating synergy and achieving individual organisations’ goals,” the spokesperson says. Destination marketing efforts feature the “Hong Kong, Asia’s Word City” slogan and


logo, a representation of a dragon’s head that includes the city’s name in both English and Chinese. The logo and branding focus were adjusted last year “to add warmth to Hong Kong’s image and promote the city’s soft power,” according to BrandHK. “BrandHK has adopted a 360-degree integrated advertising and marketing commu-


nications approach to create a consistent message,” the spokesperson says. “The range of BrandHK’s publicity materials includes brand publications, TV commercials, pro- motional videos, website, print advertisements, outdoor displays and brand souvenirs. These tools complement and support the promotional efforts of our stakeholders.”


M.C.


with them to ensure effective cross-mar- keting of Macau’s ‘traditional’ side,” he says. Since casino advertising is banned in many countries, destination market- ers for Macau’s major hotels already focus on the non-gaming attractions and would likely welcome added script pag- es from the government.


Site-seeing distractions However, as prospective visitors increas- ingly turn to Internet travel reviews to get


opinions from people like themselves on destinations, Mr Riches sees particular dif culties for Macau’s efforts. “The current Macau experience


is quite disappointing when taken as a whole. The place is a building site. There’s no sense of overall planning and place-making, which should be a strength, given its compact scale. You have to travel point to point, rather than moving around within pleasant pre- cincts. There’s little sense of welcome,” he says. “Until these issues of the quality of


the place are addressed, then I think it will be hard to build up a strong follow- ing among international visitors, when word of mouth may not be positive out- side the core casino/resort visitors.” Visitors are far ahead of Macau’s marketing pros when it comes to in- tegrating the city’s attractions. Ms Lam of the Institute for


Tourism Studies and fellow- lecturer Clara Lei Weng Si co-wrote a case study enti- tled “Branding Macau as the Las Vegas of the Far East”. The study tried to reconcile


the predominance of gaming in Macau’s public image with gov-


ernment efforts to promote heritage. It found that visitors say their main


activity in Macau is sightseeing. How- ever, it also found that casinos rank high among the sights visitors want to see.


JULY 2011


nlike Macau, Hong Kong has a global branding programme to promote the city to tourists and investors alike. Concerned about its post-handover image on the world


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