Macau, China, 27 July – Macau’s Directorate of Tourism Services (DST) has been awarded the Great Prize in the heritage category by the Pacific-Asia Travel Association (PATA) at a meeting of the organization this week in Thailand.
An official communiqué from the Bangkok meeting Wednesday said the Great Prize for heritage had been given for the DST’s “World Heritage Year of Macau 2006” campaign, which marketed the territory as having much more to offer than its casinos.
“The culture and heritage of Macau will always be at the center of out tourism resources, which, together with other modern ingredients like entertainment and leisure, we hope to share will all visitors,” said DST director João Costa Antunes.
Macau’s historic center was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in July 2005.
“The historic center of Macau” is a still existing representation of the historic settlement that marked the city’s origins, involving architectural legacies intertwined with the original urban textures, including streets and squares such as Largo da Barra, Largo do Lilau, Largo de Santo Agostinho, Largo do Senado, Largo da Se, Largo de S. Domingos, Largo da Companhia de Jesus and Largo de Camoes.
These main squares and urban environments establish a link between over 20 monuments including churches, temples, forts and buildings.
Macau received over 10 million visitors in the first five months of 2007, an increase of 21.45 percent in a year-on-year comparison. In 2006, 21.9 million tourists came to Macau following the 18.7 million visits in the previous year.
The Chinese enclave city, with an area of 25 square kilometers and a population of just over half a million, currently has 27 casinos. The head of Macau’s gaming authority recently said the city could have up to 35 casinos by 2010. (macauhub)