More than 230 paparazzi from Macau, Hong Kong, Mainland
China and other parts of the world were attracted to cover the 54th PATA
Annual Conference held from April 17-21 in the Macau Tower Convention and
of the very popular landmarks of Macau is the graceful bronze statue of Kun
Iam (Goddess of Mercy) which dominates the outer harbor. Its base is an
educational center on Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
Ever since the establishment of the Pacific Asia Travel
Association (PATA) in 1951, it has been active in the enhancement of growth,
value, and quality of travel and tourism in the Asia Pacific region.
To this end, for the first time, Macau was chosen to be
the host of this year’s conference.
The Macau Special Administrative Region Government has
laid down clear policies to develop the gaming and tourism industries and to
make Macau an international destination for meetings, incentives,
conventions, and exhibitions (MICE). As new infrastructure and facilities
are constantly being added and quality of service upgraded, Macau has
entered a new stage of development.
Kun Iam Temple you can find all kinds of sacred images where worshippers
make all kind of merits including burning paper offerings of replica of
cars, and other luxury items to comfort the spirit of the dead.
Macau, long a Portuguese colony, is now Chinese territory
and is located on the Southeast Coast of China within the huge Pearl River
Delta. Bordering on China’s Guangdong Province, Macau is 60km from Hong
Kong and 145km from the city of Guangzhou, forming a triangle of prosperity.
Land reclamation along its coastline has made Macau grow from 10 to more
than 27 square km. Macau consists of the Macau peninsula and the two islands
of Taipa and Coloane. Two modern bridges link the peninsula to Taipa, while
the 2.2km Taipa-Coloane Causeway connects the two islands.
has succeeded to balance and preserve their cultural heritage and still be a
casino town so far. The Casino Lisboa is the oldest casino in town, but
probably the only one where still a little bit old flair is visible compared
to the new cold modern gambling palaces which are opening up everywhere.
The government of the People’s Republic of China
resumed exercising sovereignty over Macau on December 20, 1999. In harmony
with the principle of “one country, two systems”, the previous
capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years.
With the population of more than 465,000, Macau had 16
million visitors in 2004. Since tourism is the backbone of Macau’s
economy, the government clearly regards the gaming and tourism industries as
the head and the service industry as the body, with other industries
developing in parallel. The gaming sector by itself is the largest source of
direct tax in Macau. Macau has been dubbed the Monte Carlo of the
Orient—but will be the Las Vegas of the East when all the projected 21
casinos are built.
After the end of PATA Annual Conference 2005 on April 21,
members of the press had the opportunity to take part in a tour to visit
Macau’s famous historical landmarks and architectural heritage treasures.
They give a fascinating glimpse into the islands rich colonial past.
Fisherman from Fujian and farmers from Guangdong formed
the first known settlement which soon became a trading port, part of the
Maritime Silk Road with sailing ships loaded with silk plying the sea routes
between China and Rome. In 1513, Portuguese merchant-explorers reached the
place called “A Ma Gao”, where the locals honored the Goddess of
Seafarers A Ma, whose temple stood at the entrance to the sheltered port.
The Portuguese adopted this name gradually becoming “Macau” and
established the major trading port between China, Japan, India and Europe.
The Roman Catholic Church sent some of its greatest
missionaries in the wake of St. Francis Xavier, who died nearby after having
made many converts in Asia. Located at the southern end of the Macau
peninsula is Penha Hill, on which stands the imposing Bishop’s Palace with
a chapel of Our Lady of Penha built in the year 1622. In the heart of the
city stands the carved stone fa็ade of St. Paul’s Church, which
served as a college for the Jesuits in the East. Nearby is the fortress hill
of Monte Fort, which provided an effective defense against attack by the
Dutch in 1624. Today it houses the Museum of Macau, where special attention
is given to the merging of cultures to create the distinctive Macanese
society—a unique blending of the East and West.
Macau’s main artery is paved with wave-patterned stone
mosaics and extends from St. Paul’s to Senado Square, which is the
shopping and dining area of Macau. Macanese food, which is a fusion of
Portuguese, African, Southeast Asian and Chinese cooking, has just begun to
gain international recognition. Situated on the highest point of the city,
Guia Fort with its original cannon platform provides panoramic views of
Macau and the islands. Rising above the old battlements is the oldest
western-style lighthouse on the China Coast that is still a beacon for
Much newer is the towering and graceful bronze statue of
Kun Iam, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, which has become one of the most
popular landmarks of Macau. It stands on a podium under which is an
ecumenical center of Chinese religion. Along the shore passes the Avenue of
Dr. Sun Yat Sen, with trees, plants and a boulevard for people to stop and
enjoy the view. After sunset, the whole area comes to boisterous life along
the waterfront. May Kun Iam is thought to be merciful to all the gamblers
who frequent the bars, restaurants and casinos—some of which open for 24
The article was written by courtesy of Air Asia, the low cost airline
that flies two times a day from Bangkok to Macau International Airport on
the Island of Taipa, Macau.