sk Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), about her pastimes when she is not overseeing her role in modernising and expanding the tourism sector, and she will tell you about her love for skiing by travelling to international snowy destinations. When asked where in Macao she feels most at home, she will tell you it is the A‑Ma Temple area, where she grew up and her father used to work.
Macao Magazine (MM): Describe the essence of Macao as seen through the lens of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO). Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes (MHSF): When we promote Macao, we strive to emphasise that Macao is comprised of East and West as well as the old and the new. That sums up what Macao is today. Back 15, 20 years ago, the message was slightly different because we didn’t have so many of the new facilities that we have now. We really promote our events celebrating a wide variety of Eastern and Western festivities, our cultural and historical heritage and our modern developments. MM: The MGTO has been promoting Macao with the goal of attracting more international tourists. What strategies are being employed for different countries? Could you provide some examples of these strategies and how they differ from each other? MHSF: All in all, when you look to international markets, you really have to cater to their unique tastes, their means of getting information and their changing demographics, and then you try to tailor both your message as well as how you deliver that message to inspire interest in Macao. Each and every market is different because the level of sophistication required varies: the way media is consumed is different, and even social media usage varies from place to place. Sometimes, you have to really research the proper method. For example, in the Republic of Korea, we employ many different media to convey our message: we advertise in trade papers, tourism‑related papers and magazines as well as on social media platforms like Facebook and Line where we create accounts in Korean. Communication in their native language is very important. We also have to ensure that our marketing campaigns convey a sense of fun, because while there is interest in culture and history to a certain extent, most Korean tourists want to have fun above all. To create advertisements that make an impact, we feature Korean television and music stars. Another example is that Japanese tourists value cultural experiences. MM: MGTO employs a lot of representatives in different countries. Do you rely on them for market research to find out what people are interested in? How does that collaboration work? MHSF: Having a representative on the ground serves a number of purposes: they are more in tune with current trends that appeal to local markets, and they can easily facilitate contact with local partners as well as the local population. A market representative guides us in understanding the mentality of our target audience; from time to time, they also conduct country‑specific research. NOVEMBER 2016