Macau has been a hot topic of discussion in recent years, and much of which has been related to the fast growing tourist and gambling industry. As a consequence, the construction industry immediately becomes a major factor to facilitate the growth in this tourist traffic. Like Las Vegas (a destination that Macau is forever compared with), Macau’s revenue is largely dependent on the gambling and hospitality industry. As Macau is increasingly popular as a tourist destination, the future will see a ramp up in hotel construction with a staggering 43 more hotels in the process of approval and planning, or already in construction. This article will summarise these plans and at the same time hopefully help construction professionals from around the world to see Macau as a lucrative and promising market for their career prospects as well!
What’s Happening in Construction in Macau?
The addition of 43 hotels in Macau will provide 25,600 hotel rooms (current of approx. 27,000) and 18,400 units for parking. This will handle about 30 million tourists per annum. On the Cotai Strip alone, there will be 8 new casino resorts aimed to be completed by 2018. The main gaming operators in Macau being:
•SJM – Sociedade de Jogos de Macau
•Venetian Macao Limited
•MGM Grand Paradise
These “mega resorts” call for experienced workers who have handled large scale building projects, however not a typical housing estate, or even a high rise tower. The resorts tend to have certain embellishments or complex design schemes which demands specialist construction workers – for example The Parisian resort will erect a replica of the Eiffel Tower, similar to Las Vegas. Structural steel professionals are in demand for this project. As a side note, it is pertinent to mention that not only will construction workers be in demand, but of course within the operational stage of these resorts, casino worker employment will also soar.
In tandem with the building projects, it is inevitable that access infrastructure to Macau is considered. Currently, civil infrastructure projects including the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB) and high speed rail are in the mix to handle the influx of tourists. Within Macau itself, transport efficiency is further implemented with the Light Rail Transit currently in construction – the first of its kind in Macau. This railway line will operate between the Macau Peninsula and Taipa Island and hopefully ease congestion on the roads and bridges.
There is uniqueness to Macau that differentiates itself from “rival” destination Las Vegas. No doubt the blackjack tables, poker chips and slot machines are a gravitational pull for a lot of tourists, but there is a historical and cultural backdrop in which Macau is set that is also an attraction to many. Recognised as a World Heritage site in 2005, Macau has attracted visitors from all over the world to marvel at the old Portuguese colonial architecture and taste the authentic Macanese delicacies. Simply put, there is something for everyone in Macau.
Furthermore, Macau is at a central region of opportunity – to explore, to work and to live. Within a five hour flight, there are many neighbouring countries that can take advantage of Macau as a weekend getaway or as part of a stopover on a longer trip. Improving its accessibility to other surrounding regions like Zhuhai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong also means Macau is fast becoming a coveted place to live permanently as well. Therefore, the residential construction market is hotting up also. These residential developments are created with the same air of opulence as many of the casino resorts in Macau – luxurious lobbies, marble flooring and intricate detailing – which will sell for as much as HK $13,000 per square foot! The increase in luxury residential construction inevitably brings an increased demand for skilled construction workers.
Macau is now becoming an attractive destination for construction professionals. With a lot of high profile and big budget jobs on the go and upcoming, companies are willing to pay more substantial packages to secure high calibre individuals. Macau is increasingly receptive to expatriate candidates. The work permit process is often mitigated for HKID card holders – perhaps expats can see Hong Kong as a stepping stone to Macau. For now, the demand for good building oriented engineers and managers is continually increasing, with many companies favouring luxury hotel brand experience.
If you have experience in casino, mixed use or major hotel construction at the highest level, feel free to get in touch to discuss Macau as possible destination further!
Hong Kong & Asia Region.