Macau is a city that you wouldn’t want to be in charge of from a tourism perspective, because taking charge of a situation that volatile is an easy and quick path to complete burnout after you have experienced emotional highs and lows of high intensity within close proximity to each other. The Macau Government Tourism Organization (MGTO for short) has been on the top of the world and in the bottom of the deepest mineshaft at different points during the last two years, so a recap regarding the shifting fortunes of Macau is most likely in order for people that do not have a long enough memory to go back to the middle of the 20th century when the future of the city of Macau was very much in question.
The oldest casinos in Macau will date themselves from around this period of time and of course in the 1960s, Macau was still a colony of Portugal. The Portuguese influence in Macau is undeniable and in much of the architecture and religious buildings you can still see it to this very day. In any case, the shifting fortunes of Macau started out at this point when nobody with any intelligence was really comparing Macau to Las Vegas as the latter was quickly assuming the role of the gambling capital of the world while the former was staring into the abyss as the Portuguese started to feel the financial strain of having to maintain this colony so far overseas. Fast forward to the year 1997 and Portugal eventually decides that it is time to hand control of Macau over the China, the country that borders most of the Macau area. Keeping in mind that the British just two years later would hand over Hong Kong as well, it makes perfect sense that Macau would go to the People’s Republic of China as well.
Over the period of the first 10 years, the Chinese government decided to keep gambling legal in Macau (the one place in the entire country in which this was the case) and then to start expanding the gambling industry in Macau with the goal of allowing the city to attract more visitors in the same vein as Las Vegas was doing in the western hemisphere. To that end, the Chinese government even invited American gambling companies into Macau to construct their own casinos and when that started happening, a new era of prosperity descended onto Macau. Economic growth was so fast in fact that many people seriously believed that Macau would be able to eclipse Las Vegas before 2025 as the premier gambling location in the world.
Then, the Chinese government instituted travel restrictions that did not allow mainland travelers to go to Macau more than once every three years and almost overnight some of the revenue sources dried up as a result. Macau once again was relegated to a lower position and has only now started to rebuild their income streams, relying this time on gamblers from all over the world rather than just mostly mainland China.