Macao Government Tourism Office is confident Australian tourist arrivals will return to previous high levels as the former enclave hosts dozens of festivals in a new promotion, “2018 Macao Year of Gastronomy”.

The celebrations mark Macao’s recent designation as a UNESCO Creative City in the Gastronomy category, an elite group of 26 global cities.

Australian visitor numbers were slightly down last year following Typhoon Hato, which struck the region in August. The worst typhoon to hit Macao in 53 years, Hato claimed 12 lives and caused severe flooding across the 32km2 territory. Australian arrivals decreased by 3 per cent to 90,000 in 2017; down from 93,000 the previous year.

The new UNESCO title, awarded last November, recognises Macao’s 400 years of developing Macanese cuisine, a fusion of dishes from Portugal and its former colonies in India, Malaysia and Africa.

This year’s events include Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants promotion and the 18th Macao Food Festival.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai Bridge, which will link the three via a 55km series of bridges and tunnels, is tipped to open after 1 July. In response, competition has intensified between ferry companies Turbojet and Cotai Water Jet, with the latter announcing an agreement with Cathay Pacific where international passengers can book ferry tickets along with their flight reservations and have baggage checked through to Taipa ferry wharf.


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