Prior to my joining of the 2016 Hongkong Standard Marathon on January 17, 2016; I had an opportunity to visit the island of Macau with pare Dockie and good friends Pin and JP. I considered it as a mammoth side trip, even an interesting destination more than the host venue Hongkong for some reasons I observed and experienced. Upon reaching the place and interacting with Chinese people there, I believed that the next Philippine president should visit this country, understand and internalize the systems and have some slice of the systems emulated into our country.
With a mix of portugese culture being envaded by Portugal Empire long ago, Macau made its colorful culture as its major asset. I also discovered that only very few there know how to speak the English language which to me not a basis for a certain country to be rich and successful economically. The way they managed their infrastructure to compliment with the increasing population is praiseworthy. Presently, while they are still enjoying the comfort of their freeways brought by a comprehensive bus transport systems, they already reached like 60-70 percent completion of their mass railway transport, a move they anticipate that would ease the burden of their people 25 years from now. Yes, they plan and act 25 years advance. Planning is their core prevention so that an economic illness will not happen in their country, visionary planning. Not like us in the Philippines.
Tourism has been a tool and strategy of Macau. They have invited people to come to their place. And the tourism packages they offer are not the usual packages we know. They have existing structures there such as the St. Paul ruins located in the heart of the city and some eye-catching old Chinese structures to compliment. Their native delicacies are equally enticing, the pork and beef jerky captured my taste buds at that, and the other foods are really good, which also attracts tourists.
However, the main economic driver in Macau is the legalized gambling. Gambling in Macau is legal since the 18th century and it is one of the influences brought about by the portugese government. Since then, Macau has been considered the gambling capital in Asia and even compared to that of Las Vegas in the United States.
Gambling is the biggest source of revenue in Macau which accounts for almost 50% of their economy. It was even levelled up with the entry of large casinos owned by countries like Australia and USA. At present, almost all big hotels in Macau operates a casino. With gambling, tourism and manufacturing industries, Macau is now one of the richest cities in the world according to World Bank report. As of 2013, the Gross Domestic Product per capita by purchasing power parity is higher than that of any country in the world.
For me, the success of Macau’s economy sprouted when they allowed their cultural advantages to dictate them and by crafting a comprehensive policies for which all of its residents followed. In a deeper sense, Macau succeeded in its attempt for an economic transformation because they have people who are ready to reciprocate whatever rules and guidelines introduced by the government. Not like us Filipinos.