Macau tourism plays the major role in the economy of the peninsula; therefore, much has been done to make Macau travel both: unforgettable for tourists and beneficial for the region. Today, Macau tourism experiences its Golden Age, developing and opening new opportunities for healthy, safe and memorable vacations.
Transportation is efficient and diverse, a fact that attracts tourists to Macau. The peninsula is easily reachable by helicopters and planes from China mainland and flights are operated every half an hour. All major Macau hotels provide pick-up service, which can be booked in advance or arranged on arrival. Jetfoils, catamarans and ferries also connect Macau and Hong Kong by sea.
Each year Macau changes; it announces new promotions and renews tourist activities, what makes Macau tourism more sophisticated, diverse and attractive. This year is announced the 2006 Macau World Heritage Year and the destination highlights its rich cultural heritage to the world audience. Macau photo exhibitions, excursions to historic sections of the city, arts exhibitions and concerts are some of the activities that are offered to tourists at considerably discounted rates or for free.
The 2006 Macau World Heritage Year also includes such benefits as Hunt for Treasures. The promotion includes granting trips to Macau for the luckiest travelers who will use Visa cards in Macau between April 3, 2006 and June 30, 2006 and win the trip.
Feasts and celebrations are part of the 2006 Macau World Heritage Year. On May 18, Macau will celebrate the International Museum Day, which will open the doors of around twentymuseums to inquisitive visitors at waived admission charges. Several museums will be free for visit.
One of the highlights of the International Museum Day will be free visit to the Maritime Museum and permission from the Macau Port Authority to visit the Guia Lighthouse on May 20 & 21. The visitors will be able to learn about the workings of this historic landmark that can be seen as far as sixteen miles out to sea and is the oldest lighthouse on the south China coast.
In addition to promoting Macau tourism as a way to benefit from numerous educational, entertaining, and relaxing activities, the destination is constantly searching the ways to improve its hospitality industry, particularly, hotel service and facilities. The hoteliers develop tailor-made services as to meet each guest's needs, promote staff training as well as open new facilities corresponding to the world standards of hospitality industry.
Recently, the gold-decorated hotel casino Grand Emperor Hotel has been opened in Macau. It is the 16th casino under the banner of Stanley Ho's SJM, which is housed in the European style buildings with over three hundred rooms, more than three hundred slot machines of the latest model and a lobby laden with seventy eight pieces of one kilogram gold bars underneath - thus earning the name "golden avenue".
Last year, Macau also opened its first theme park, the Macau Fisherman's Wharf that has made Macau equally attractive for adults and kids. Today, being a renowned destination for gambling tourism, Macau gains recognition as a fine spot for leisure and cultural travel.