Promoting the Village

Translation By: 
alice Kok
圖 photos courtesy of taipa village destination limited
Taipa Village has always been a very unique and beautiful spot to visit in Macau
Taipa Village has always been a very unique and beautiful spot to visit in Macau, with its quaint mix of Chinese and Portuguese architecture, fascinating alleyways and quiet nature spots.  And in the past few years it has seen a rapid growth in the number of small retail businesses, restaurants and bars, attracting an increasing number of tourists, especially on weekends.  
One company that has been influential in the promotion of Taipa Village is Taipa Village Destination Limited, an affiliate of Sniper Capital Limited, a real estate fund manager.  
In cooperation with a variety of small businesses in the village, many of whom are tenants of Sniper Capital’s properties, Taipa Village Destination Limited has been actively promoting the brand concept Taipa Village – Authentic Macau, with the goal of attracting both local and international visitors to this increasingly popular heritage district. 
“We are not just promoting our own businesses, but trying to promote the whole area,” notes Pamela Chan, Senior Marketing Manager of Taipa Village Destination Limited.  “We are promoting our vision and goal to the Macau Government Tourism Office and the cultural bureau, so they are giving us support in terms of funding for exhibitions and also marketing and event promotions,” she adds.  
The primary goal of the company is to foster “sustainable heritage” in Taipa Village to benefit the wider Macau community and develop it as a tourist attraction in its own right.
 “We are working with more than 30 companies in the village, and particularly trying to help new and emerging restaurants. There are many new ones that have been opened by young entrepreneurs recently, and we help to arrange media visits so they can get more exposure.”
One such example is the recently opened DiGreen Dessert Shop.  
“It’s a new shop set up by four young people so we want to try to support them.”  
Pamela admits that it is difficult to know exactly how many people visit Taipa Village, but the company estimates the number to be around 5,000 per day on average.
“We are trying to bring more attractions to the village to increase the length of stay of visitors,” she says.
As well as promoting small businesses, Taipa Village Destination Limited is also committed to supporting the local art scene, having held a number of exhibitions for local artists at Taipa Village Art Space. 
Starting on October 11, Taipa Village Art Space will present  “Who Am I: Video Installation by Allen Wong”, featuring four video installations and three mixed media installations from local established artist Allen Wong, who has created the artworks based on the theme of traditional Chinese bird cages.
“And next year we are looking to hold more carnivals and activities in public areas, booths and performances and interactive activities.  In December, we will have a Christmas festival in one of the public spaces for 10 days to attract people and families,” notes Pamela.
Taipa Village Destination Limited has also printed a tourist map just for Taipa Village, and has developed a very useful app with a Hong Kong app developer called iDiscover, listing 30 recommended attractions, shopping and dining in the area. 
One of the most famous establishments associated with Taipa Village Destination Limited, is the award-winning Portuguese restaurant António, this year celebrating its 10th anniversary.
António was established in 2007 in Taipa Village by renowned Portuguese Chef António Coelho, who first visited Macau in 1970. The restaurant strives to promote Portuguese food and culture in Macau by introducing an array of authentic Portuguese dishes with modern twist.  
“I began to cook because it was a way to relax and it helps to train all five senses,” says Chef António, who started his career in the military before becoming a health inspector in Portugal in the early 1980’s.
“Still today I am very strict about hygiene and cleanliness,” he notes.
From this work, he was invited to run a restaurant in the old district of Alfama in Lisbon, kicking off what was to be a long and distinguished career in the culinary world.
Chef António returned to Macau in 1997 to help run the Lusitania restaurant, which was located near the wine museum.  He later spent two years at the Military Club, and then went to Hong Kong to help open a Portuguese restaurant there.  In 2003, he came back to Macau to open Espaço Lisboa restaurant in Coloane Village, before being invited to open António’s in Taipa Village. 
“The original location was just around the corner and had capacity for around 20 persons.  Now we have 24 staff and room for 80 pax across four floors, including a wine cellar for private dining,” notes Chef António. 
“When we first opened there were only five or six restaurants nearby, but now there are many more, maybe around 40 to 45 new ones in just 10 years,” he adds, reflecting on the rapid changes that have taken place in the village.
On his approach to cooking, he explains: “I am a traditional guy when it comes to Portuguese food. I don’t think in the past, but I am a defender of traditional and authentic Portuguese cuisine.”
As well as staying true to authentic styles, Chef António believes the secret to success lies in always using the best quality ingredients and focusing on training his staff.
“You have to believe in your restaurant and have patience.  If you cook only for money and profit, you will never succeed.”
For his patience and dedication, Chef António has been rewarded many times over. In 2013 he received A Medalha de Mérito Touristico (Certificate of Merit of Tourism) from the Macau Government, and in 2015 he received the Gold Medal of Merit from the Portuguese Communities.  His restaurant has also been recommended by the Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau every year since 2009.
“I also need to thank the Macau Government Tourism Office too. They believed in us and brought many travel agents, newspapers, magazines and TV programs to visit us.  A lot of people have come here because of MGTO,” he acknowledges.
Today Antonio’s receives many local and Chinese customers, as well guests from Japan, Korea, Vietnam, India, Australia and Spain.  And one other thing he is proud of: “We never increase our prices on public holidays!”
“Taipa Village reminds me of Alfama where I had my first restaurant.  For an old guy from Portugal, it feels like home. After 20 years, Macau is my second home.”
In May this year, together with Taipa Village Destination Limited, Chef António opened Tapas de Portugal in the adjacent building.  Offering a wide array of contemporary Portuguese tapas, complemented by Portuguese wines, beers and cocktails, it is open daily until 4am. 
And to celebrate the 10th anniversary of António, the entire month of October will see festivities including a variety of exclusive VIP events and a specially prepared celebration menu paired with a hand-picked selection of Portuguese fine wines.
Customers with number “10” on their valid identification documents (ID cards or passports) from their country of origin, will be entitled to one complimentary dessert on the date of visit until 31 October.