Macau tourism takes a beating after punishing storm

A replica of the Eiffel Tower is seen outside the Parisian Macao during a power outage after Typhoon Hato hits. Source: Reuters

WHILE Macau and Hong Kong were still recovering from a deadly Typhoon Hato that claimed at least 18 lives, a powerful storm Pakhar lashed through both cities.

A total of 206 flights have been canceled and an additional 471 delayed because of the storm, Hong Kong’s Airport Authority said. More cancelations and delays are to be expected in the coming days, Hong Kong’s flagship airline Cathay Pacific said.

The chaos has caused physical damage to both cities, talking a toll on Macau’s lucrative gambling tourism industry. According to TTG Asia, the typhoon caused widespread flooding and a power cut throughout the city, with popular resorts such as The Venetian Macao running on back-up generators.

Several luxury hotels told South China Morning Post (SCMP)  they’ve stopped checking in guests and reservations until further notice or until the power comes back on.

Tourists were told to stay in their rooms due to safety concerns. A Four Seasons Hotel staff told an SCMP reporter, “Due to the blackout of power and [lack of] water supply, we cannot run the restaurants and casino. We’re not sure when we can reopen. We are not accepting reservations at the moment.”

Macau resident Lucia Lemos, who has been living there for 35 years, told the publication, “It was the strongest and the scariest typhoon I have experienced in Macau. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

The Macao Government Tourism Office requested last week for travel agencies to halt tour groups from coming in until Aug 30 to allow for resources to be allocated to the repairing and recovery of the city’s infrastructure.