Venetian Macao Refreshes Cotai Arena to Meet Event Demand

Event at Cotai Arena in the Sands Resorts Macao

Skift Take

Already the largest events operator in Macau, Sands is extending its offering with an upgraded 15,000-seat arena.

The refurbishment of the 15,000-seat Cotai Arena in Macau is part of an upgrade slated for Venetian Macao‘s event facilities. Sands confirmed the progress on the refurbishment during the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) in February.

The owners expect the upgrades to the Cotai Arena to be complete by the end of 2024. “Not only Sands but also Macao is really investing a lot of effort on diversification and changing the perception away from Asia’s Las Vegas,” said Stephanie Tanpure, Sands Resorts Macao’s vice president of sales.

This multi-purpose arena is suitable for hosting a wide range of shows and events, including live concerts, large-scale award shows, television broadcasts, and sporting events.

“This investment reinstates Sands’ commitment to attracting premier talent and events, building on The Venetian Macao’s reputation as a premier entertainment destination in Asia,” Tanpure said. “When we reopen the Cotai Arena, it will be one of the most state-of the-art entertainment and MICE venues within our region.”

Connecting Macau and Hong Kong

On March 1, the resort became the region’s first to introduce an on-property check-in and a direct bus transfer service for Hong Kong International Airport, the largest in the region. “The introduction of airport check-in and direct bus transfers by Sands Resorts Macao marks another significant step towards making Macao a truly international MICE destination,” Tanpure said.

Macau is a special administrative region of mainland China that consists of just under 12 square miles of islands. It has its own small airport with limited services to neighboring Asian cities, including Hong Kong. Travelers can now easily access the islands from Hong Kong by way of the $18.8 billion Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge. Previously, a two-hour ferry trip was the most popular way to travel between Hong Kong and Macau.

Increased Hotel Demand

Tanpure says Macau needs more hotel rooms to accommodate an uptick in demand for meetings and events. “The growing demand for meetings and events highlights the need for expanded accommodation options to accommodate larger gatherings and capitalize on the potential of the MICE industry in Macau,” Tanpure said.

The Sands’ footprint in Macau includes ten properties with over 12,000 guest rooms. The brand’s Macau properties also boast the largest pillarless hall in Asia. Tanpure notes the misperception that Macau is more well-suited for groups of 5,000. “Our bread and butter is 150 to 200 people,” she said. She also revealed increased demand for C-Suite groups of 15 to 20 that require a higher level of service.

The upgraded convention center will complement the brand’s The Londoner. This property opened two new large venues in 2023: The Londoner Arena, which can accommodate 6,000, and The Londoner Theatre, with a seating capacity of 1,682.

Macau’s Shift to Integrated Tourism 

The refurbishment of the Cotai Arena comes after the Macau government outlined a plan to integrate tourism more deeply with other related industries. The efforts for economic diversification and revival of the region will now focus on various areas, including meetings, conventions, sports, and culture.

“We’ve observed a notable increase in demand for meetings and events within our properties,” said Tanpure. “This surge can be attributed to several factors, including the gradual recovery of the global economy, increased business confidence, and our continued commitment to providing exceptional event experiences.”

Photo credit: Sands Resorts Macao / Sands Resorts Macao