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Macau to wean economy off gambling

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Macau has launched an ambitious five-year development plan to wean its market off gambling revenues, amid forecasts from the International Monetary Fund that the economy of the autonomous Chinese region will contract by 7.2 per cent in 2016, according to the Monetary Authority of Macau.

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Renowned worldwide for its glitzy high-end shopping malls, luxury hotels and flashy casinos, Macau has for decades earned the bulk of its roughly $US51 billion ($A69.32 billion) plus revenue from gambling, a feat that has earned the former Portugese territory the title of the “Las Vegas of Asia”.

In 2014, Macau earned some $US51.56 billion from gaming and tourism but by the fourth quarter of 2015, the economy had shrunk by 14.4 per cent as a result of an ongoing drop in the global popularity of gambling, according to the Trading Economics database.

“We must wholeheartedlyo promote the diversification of the Macao economy and improve the livelihood and welfare of the people,” says the Five-Year Plan, proposed to the Legislative Assembly earlier this year, adding that building transport infrastructure is a priority.

Last month, the Macau S.A.R. government released a development plan for 2016 to 2020, which outlines goals to increase non-betting revenues in sectors such as retail, hotels and wellness tourism, bidding to increase the proportion of retail jobs to 10 per cent of employment by 2020.

“We will encourage gaming operators to engage more in large-scale tourism projects that will help diversify the sector by offering more leisure activities and non-gaming elements,” said the government’s Chief Executive Chui Sai, as cited by the Macao Magazine.

EFE

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