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40 / CONFERENCE & MEETINGS WORLD / ISSUE 67MacauMacau's MICE appealWITH A SERIES OF LARGE CASINO AND RESORT DEVELOPMENTS SCHEDULED TO OPEN, MACAU'S APPEAL AS A MEETINGS DESTINATION IS SET TO RISE. SARAH O'DONNELL REPORTSacau is home to over 140,000sqm of convention space spread around five key convention and exhibition centres and 30 hotels. The hotel and venue operators in the Cotai Strip, a casino and tourism project in the Cotai District of Macau, contribute a majority of these meeting facilities. In terms of infrastructure developments in this special administrative region (like Hong Kong, Macau is a SAR of the People's Reublic of China), the casino resort Sands Cotai Central will be launched this year, which will become another spotlight of Macau's entertainment offering. Currently, there are three resort developments in progress within an area of 320,000sqm. Combined, these will add 5,000 hotel rooms and a significant increase in convention space for the region's meetings offering.M"With more peripheral facilities to complete the transportation, entertainment and accommodation services in the Cotai Strip in the near future, conventions are expected to be materially bolstered in the coming few years," a spokesperson for Macau Economic Services told CMW. "The Macau Government will continue to support and promote sustainable growth in the convention and exhibition industry by means of multiple fronts, not only by nurturing locally-incubated events, but also by anchoring overseas conventions and exhibitions of considerable size and significance." The Macau International Trade and Investment Fair, the 3rd China Catering Expo, the International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum are all due to be held in the region this year.Other than the appeal of its large-scale meetings services and infrastructure for international conventions and exhibitions, Macau's heritage and location is also a unique offering for MICE delegates. Since the 16th century, Macau was already a place for merchants from different parts of the world to convene. It had already been celebrated for the fusion culture it developed from being a Portuguese enclave, and was a major gateway to China and its port."With its religious and public Portuguese and Chinese buildings, the historic centre of Macao provides a testimony to the meeting of aesthetic, cultural, architectural and technological influences from East and West. The historic centre of Macau was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, making it the 31st designated World Heritage site in China.Besides this, the city offers team building activities such as bungee jumping, go-karting or golf, or delegates can enjoy a show or concert. All of these components make Macau a unique destination for organisers.Above: Statue of Kun Iam, Chinese New Year celebrations, and the Macau Cultural CentreSquare metres of convention space spread around centres and hotels in Macau140,000