The Portuguese enclave of Macao, the oldest European trading outpost in the Orient represents a strange balance between the old and the new.
The Portuguese enclave of Macao, the oldest European trading outpost in the Orient represents a strange balance between the old and the new. Since the 1966 riots, Macao has round a new lease of life. Tourists flock the enclave from Hong Kong to take advantage of the low prices and gambling casino.
Memories of the riots are drowned today in the din of gambling casinos and dog races and int he clanging of pile drivers at numerous building sites.
Gene are the Maoist red guard posters which appeared in 1966 -- and echo of the cultural revolution in neighbouring People's Republic of China which threatened to snuff out the life of old Macao.
The return of long-term confidence in Macao's future is evidenced by the building boom. Plans have been drawn up for a 300 room hotel to be built at a cost of about three million pounds sterling. There's also a scheme under way to build a bridge to link Macao with the offshore island of Taipa.
With European countries turning out cheaper textiles, Macao has had to look elsewhere for its earnings. Tourism netted many thousands of pounds last year and the number of visitors is expected to nearly double within the next five years.
SYNOPSIS: Macao, the oldest European trading outpost in the Orient, is undergoing a new lease of life. Since the communist inspired riots in 1966, the small Portuguese enclave has undergone a great change. Gunboats still patrol the waterfront, but the days of large scale drug smuggling are gone and now their main task to look after the safety of the fishermen.
Old macao with is Moorish style buildings represents a strange contrast to the hustle and bustle of China-town. the riots of 1966 threatened the destruction of the old town, but it still stands and is a major tourist attraction. Since the riots Macao has embarked on a major rebuilding programme to encourage tourists. New hotels and casinos are springing up along the harbour and the people are turning more and more from the industries which made the colony famous, to catering for the tourists.
In the past textiles were Macao's major export. Now West Germany has taken the lead with cheaper materials and the industry is closing down in the colony.
Another major export in the past was fireworks. It still pulls in a great deals of money, but as tourism increases he factories are gradually cutting production in the face of increased output from neighbouring countries.
Fishermen still cast their nets in the harbour, but the old life in Macao is changing.
Hydrofoils make the ninety minute journey from Hong Kong bringing large numbers of tourists each day. Its with these people that Macao's future lies.
Macao offers a great deal in the way of scenery...its old style buildings and churches contrasting with Chinatown and its rows of small shops. But its the casinos which draw the biggest crowds. A new innovation, they cash in on the Oriental love for gambling. Macao is undergoing the most drastic change in its long history, and the way things are shaping, may soon take its place alongside Hong Kong and Tokyo as a major Asian tourist resort.