ITRC discussed about enhancing the FIT Policy

Source of the photo: Macao Daily

Source of the photo: Macao Daily

Our ITRC research team member, Mr. Patrick Lo, represented IFT to discuss about enhancing the Free Individual Travellers (FIT) Policy together with the other panelistes at the Macau Forum, program of the TDM on Sunday, 22 March 2016.


The panelists suggested increasing the proportions of the long-haul and the high-spending visitors could help driving the development of the hotel, the MICE and the tourism industries.


Mr. Patrick Lo believed that we should understand the goal of enhancing the FIT Policy. If we'd like to increase the visitor's purchasing power, adjusting the frequency of issuing visa in some reagions and issuing more business-visa can be considered.



First preliminary meeting of the GReAT Alliance

The Global Research Alliance in Tourisum (GReAT) is initiated by IFT to affirm the urgent need to address the most persistent and important research issues, problems, and unresolved questions in tourism on a global scale, through a worldwide network of institutional partners working and pooling together their collective knowledge and resources.

The first preliminary meeting of GReAT was held on 12 October 2015 in IFT together with the founding members from renowned tourism research centres and universities in Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Joining the meeting, there were Professor Christopher Ryan, University of Waikato, New Zealand; Professor Noel Scott from Griffith University, Australia; Dr. Kamilla Swart and Dr. Brendon Knott from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Centre for Tourism Research in Africa, South Africa; Dr. Niramit Kunanuwat and Ms. Sawraya Rojana-Anun from Suan Dusit University, Thailand; Dean Haemoon Oh, Dr. Brian Mihalik and Dr. Richard Harrill from University of South Carolina, US; Dr. Frederi Bouchon from Taylor's University, Malaysia; Dean Amitabh Upadhya from Skyline University College, UAE. 

Q4 2012 report of the Macao Visitor Profile Survey (VPS) released

IFT Tourism Research Centre (ITRC) is releasing today the latest results of the Macao Visitor Profile Survey (VPS) covering the fourth quarter of 2012.  ITRC has been collecting quarterly data on visitor profile and characteristics since 2008 and analyzing visitor trends. Highlights and analysis of trends from the latest quarter are as follows:

Proportion of visitors coming primarily for gambling continues to drop

Figure 1 - Proportion % of visitors saying their primary visiting purpose is gambling

The proportion of visitors indicating gambling as the primary purpose for their visit to Macao declined from 7.2% in Q3 2012 to a low of 6.2% in the last quarter of 2012, the lowest percentage thus far recorded. See Figure 1. Visitors arriving primarily for pleasure or vacation purposes comprised 76.5% of those interviewed in Q4 2012. Shopping, cuisine and attractions remain strong pulls for visiting Macao. ITRC tracks this data as one of many indicators to determine whether Macao’s tourism is diversifying – one of the key strategies of the territory’s long-term tourism development.


Other observations: Shopping and dining are the most popular non-gaming activities, especially of those coming from Mainland China and Hong Kong. However, data suggests that visiting World Heritage attractions (9.5%), attending festivals, non-business events, shows or concerts (4.2%) and visiting for business purposes (3.8%) do not show a clear trend and fluctuate over time.

Shopping activities = Shorter length of stay?

Figure 2 -  Profile of visitors with varying length of stay (%), Q4 2012

Analysis of VPS data from Q4 2012 shows that the highest proportion of same day (or short-staying) visitors is associated with cross-border shopping activities. See Figure 2. This segment (same day length and shopping) comprises 19.1% of visitors.. A slight increase in proportion of visitors coming for attractions and stay overnight was observed (16.0%); while only 3% of surveyed respondents visiting for pleasure stayed overnight.


As in previous quarters, there is no evidence of positive association between first time visitors and longer length of stay, nor between tour packages and longer length of stay. However, the data with respect to visitors from Taiwan China remains positive. This segment has a higher likelihood than others to stay overnight in Macao (6.4%). The same pattern is evident amongst tourists from other Asian countries, although numbers from these areas remain low relative to the main source markets of Mainland China and Hong Kong.  


The overall trend throughout the latest quarter shows that Macao continues to grow as a short-stop shopping destination for the Greater China areas. To develop Macao into an international tourism destination, further diversification in attractions and pleasure offerings is necessary to entice visitors from the long haul markets, therefore lengthen the overall duration of stay.

About the VPS

Every quarter since 2008  ITRC has been collecting relevant information with which it conducts analysis leading to identifying segments and niche profiles of visitors. We use these analyses to inform policy-making and the long term effectiveness of destination planning and marketing, for both public and private sector stakeholders.



Data for the Macao Visitor Profile Survey comes from field surveys of visitors. Survey was conducted over nine days for each quarter and targeted to collect at least 114 samples that completed at least half of their planned visit period or activity at the time of interview on each survey date. Interview locations included major sites and terminals including the Border Gate, Ruins of St. Paul’s, Rua do Cunha at Taipa, Senado Square, Hong Kong-Macao Ferry Terminal and Macao International Airport. Each quarter sees around a final sample comprised of 1,026 visitors. The questionnaires used for collecting data for the VPS seeks information from visitors primarily on (1) their purpose and reasons for visiting Macao, (2) their trip and travel characteristics, (3) travel and transportation arrangements, (4) accommodation arrangements, (5) major information source, (6) spending behavior, (7) visitor attractions visited, (8) gaming behavior, and (9) evaluation of their overall travel experience.

For more information 

Please contact Ms. Virginia Hong or Ms. Wendy Tang of ITRC at

ITRC launches long-term periodic monitoring and study of labor and human resource issues – MHRM

ITRC announces today the release of its inaugural report on the Macao Human Resource Monitoring Survey (or MHRM), the Centre's latest major research project. Designed to periodically capture the attitudes, opinions and sentiments of Macao’s workforce, the MHRM Survey will be conducted and its findings reported twice a year.


Among the information to be gathered regularly are employees' levels of job satisfaction, job stress, organizational commitment, intention-to-quit and organizational loyalty measures as well as satisfaction with a host of occupational and work conditions such as compensation, benefits, opportunities for advancement and inter-relationships at work, either with colleagues or with superiors and subordinates.


Although the MHRM primarily focuses on analyzing labor and human resource issues pertaining to the tourism, hospitality and gaming industries, findings will be compared across all categories of workers in other sectors of Macao's economy. Director of ITRC, Dr. Leonardo (Don) Dioko, notes:


"Despite the copious amount of information generated about Macao's rapid economic growth, there is little if any information resource of sufficient scale, scope and sustained collection over time, which policy makers, industry leaders and the general public can tap or rely on in regard to the important task of understanding issues surrounding labor force relations, incentives, equity and benefits as well as identifying the needs, conditions and aspirations of Macao's human resources. The MHRM project will aim to fill this gap in knowledge."

Among the major findings of the pilot survey:


1) Overall, majority of the employed labor force in Macao are moderately satisfied with their jobs. Those working in tourism related industries, however, expressed a slightly lower level of job satisfaction compared to non-tourism workers.


2) Workers from the tourism industry had lower satisfaction with practically every specific domain of their jobs (i.e., job security, supervision, treatment, recognition and pay) compared to non-tourism workers.


3) Tourism industry workers also tend to report lower intent to stay at and lower levels of commitment to their organizations, compared to non-tourism industry workers.


Considering that most of the working population of Macao are occupationally involved in tourism or tourism-related organizations and that the nominal income of workers has increased in recent years, the above findings—which echo a generally coping sentiment—should be cause for long-term concern. 


More details of the MHRM can be found here. Regular subscribers of ITRC's studies will receive an email shortly with a link to download the inaugural report while non-subscribers should register in the MHRM project page to receive a copy.




For more information


Please contact Ms. Virginia Hong or Ms. Wendy Tang of ITRC at