Las Vegas resorts and the Fashion Show mall have rolled
out the red carpet for a large contingent of artisans
and government and business dignitaries from Macau hoping
to show Southern Nevadans that the city isn't just Asia's
premiere gaming destination.
was the busiest day of Macau Week, which is being observed
MGM Grand, Wynn
Las Vegas and Fashion Show through Sunday.
displays, photo exhibitions and demonstrations by dancers,
musicians and artists are scheduled all week at the mall
and the resorts to demonstrate that the city on the southern
tip of China that vies to become Asia's Las Vegas has
a unique cultural heritage that makes it a worthy international
a celebration of a rich cultural heritage, said Fernando
Chui Sai On, secretary of social affairs and culture for
the Macau Special Administrative Region, a designation
established when the government of Portugal turned the
area over to the Chinese in 1999.
heated up for the gaming industry in 2002 when the government
of Macau signed concession agreements with companies affiliated
with Wynn Resorts Ltd. and Las Vegas Sands Inc., opening
the area to foreign competitors. Las Vegas Sands quickly
opened the Sands
Macau last year and began work on a scaled-down version
of the Venetian
while Wynn began construction of a slimmed-down replica
Mirage entered the market through a partnership with Pansy
Ho, managing director of Shun Tak Holdings Ltd., which
has real estate and tourism holdings throughout Macau.
Ho is a daughter of Stanley Ho, who held a monopoly on
casinos in Macau for 40 years before the decision to offer
concessions to outside companies.
Ho still controls more than a dozen casinos in Macau,
including the Casino
Lisboa, the largest currently operating in the city.
was broken earlier this year on the MGM Macau. All three
hotel-casino projects with Las Vegas connections are expected
to open in 2007 and are in various stages of construction.
Ho was among the business representatives who came to
Las Vegas for Macau Week and met with MGM Mirage officials
in addition to taking in some of the cultural offerings.
been quite well received, Pansy Ho said of this week's
cultural offerings at the resorts and the mall. "It
gives us an opportunity to show that there's more to experience
Vegas Sands President and Chief Operating Officer Bill
Weidner said that while Macau is a thriving gaming market,
it doesn't have the infrastructure to supplant Las Vegas
as the world's leading casino resort destination.
Macau's casino revenue is on pace to surpass that of Las
Vegas, thanks to a growing core market of Chinese high-rollers,
many based in Hong Kong, who make day trips to the casinos.
said his company's strategy is to help develop a different
niche of tourists willing to spend more than a day in
the city and take in some of the cultural amenities Macau
has to offer. To make the experience more appealing to
the mass market, Las Vegas Sands and its American counterparts
are developing resort experiences more akin to Las Vegas,
complete with entertainment, dining and shopping experiences
as well as convention and meeting facilities.
mass market is only beginning to be tapped as Chinese
government authorities continue to relax visa requirements
that will allow millions of Chinese citizens to travel
in addition to developing the Chinese market, Macau is
spreading its wings internationally. That's why the Macau
government is staging Macau Week in Las Vegas.
Fashion Show is offering Chinese dragon and lion dances,
Portuguese folk dancing and a Macanese band at 7:30 and
9 p.m., through Sunday. The mall also is the setting for
a photographic exhibit, "24 Hours in Macau."
MGM Grand also is playing host on its Studio Walk
to a photo exhibit featuring images of events and festivals
in Macau, including the A-Ma Festival, the Macau Arts
Festival, the International Fireworks Festival, the Macau
Grand Prix auto race and the Chinese New Year.
collection of modern art is on display at the Venetian's
Colonnade. Fifty-three original works by Macanese artists
demonstrating calligraphy, painting and contemporary media
are on display.
virtuoso pianist brothers Kuok-Man Lio and Lio Kuok-Wai
played a concert Tuesday night and are scheduled to appear
again Friday at Wynn
Las Vegas. Resort owner Steve Wynn invited the pianists
to appear after hearing them play in Asia.
food -- a blend of Portuguese and Chinese cuisine -- is
being offered with special menu items at Wynn's
Terrace Point Cafi, the Venetian's
Royal Star Restaurant and MGM
Grand's Pearl Restaurant.
venues also will feature Macanese artisans offering calligraphic
painting and silhouette portraits.
culture got a boost last month when Macau's historic center
was listed as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It
was the 31st site in China to be designated by UNESCO.