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Bus crash in Macao spurs talk of reform

China Daily | Updated: 2016-08-11 07:27

A tour bus crash on Monday in Macao that injured at least 32 mainland tourists has raised concerns among industry insiders about Macao's tourism capacity, a report by Xinhua News Agency said.

According to the Macao Public Security Police Force, the accident occurred when the bus was proceeding downhill on a sloping street close to the Ruins of St. Paul, a well-known tourist attraction. A white van rear-ended the bus, and the bus driver got out to check the situation.

The bus started rolling down the slope without the driver and rammed into a roadside clinic.

Macao's Health Bureau said 10 people remain hospitalized.

Macao legislator Ho Ion-sang said the street where the accident happened has long been dangerous for tour buses. He said he hoped the local government would optimize bus routes to avoid similar accidents in the future.

Wu Keng-kuong, president of the board of directors of the Travel Industry Council of Macao, told Xinhua that Macao gets around 30 million tourists annually, a third of them in groups from the mainland.

The Ruins of St. Paul is a "must-see" for groups, he said, but the 2,800-square-meter area has dangerous old buildings and gravel streets. Plus, tour parking has become a headache.

"Major tourism attractions are in Macao's old district, which is dangerously overcrowded. The industry has called for the construction of a large parking lot for years, but the project never started."

"Now we have come up with more ideas. For example, we could build an underground parking lot beneath Camoes Garden," Wu said.

Zeng Zhonglu, a professor specializing in Macao-mainland cooperation at Macao Polytechnic Institute, said the sightseeing model is no longer attractive to a younger generation of tourists.

"Tourists born after 1980 are not interested in the old travel pattern of taking buses, eating take-out lunches, shopping for souvenirs and taking photos," Zeng said. "The tourism industry in Macao should reform itself based on the needs of the new generation."

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