Cruising in Macau
Colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal on 13 April 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999. China has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system will not be practiced in Macau, and that Macau will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.
Location: Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China
Subtropical; marine with cool winters, warm summers
Lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
Macau's well-to-do economy has remained one of the most open in the world since its reversion to China in 1999. Apparel exports and tourism are mainstays of the economy. Although the territory was hit hard by the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and the global downturn in 2001, its economy grew 10.1% in 2002, 14.2% in 2003, and 28.6% in 2004. During the first three quarters of 2005, Macau registered year-on-year GDP increases of 6.2%.
A rapid rise in the number of mainland visitors because of China's easing of travel restrictions, increased public works expenditures, and significant investment inflows associated with the liberalization of Macau's gaming industry drove the four-year recovery. The budget also returned to surplus since 2002 because of the surge in visitors from China and a hike in taxes on gambling profits, which generated about 70% of government revenue.
The three companies awarded gambling licenses have pledged to invest $2.2 billion in the territory, which will boost GDP growth. Much of Macau's textile industry may move to the mainland as the Multi-Fiber Agreement is phased out. The territory may have to rely more on gambling and trade-related services to generate growth. Two new casinos were opened by new foreign gambling licensees in 2004; development of new infrastructure and facilities in preparation for Macau's hosting of the 2005 East Asian Games led the construction sector.
The Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Macau and mainland China that came into effect on 1 January 2004 offers many Macau-made products tariff-free access to the mainland, and the range of products covered by CEPA was expanded on 1 January 2005.
Airports: 1 (2005)
Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals
Other Sailing Destinations in the Region