Group Gourmet Holds First Metaverse Event to Explore Development of Food and Travel Digitalization

MACAO, Nov. 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Group announced its Gourmet 2022 Global Restaurant Awards and held its first Metaverse Gourmet Event for global users in collaboration with Sands China Ltd.

The award nominations are based on Ctrip platform user reviews combined with the opinions of a panel of 76 judges, including hotel caterers, destination restaurant association representatives, culinary service industry representatives, travellers and gourmands. A total of 7,026 restaurants were selected for this year’s awards list, covering 66 cities in Greater China (including Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan).

From fine dining to street food, nine Black Diamond restaurants, 48 Diamond restaurants, 238 Platinum restaurants, 2,236 Gold restaurants, and 4,495 Silver restaurants were selected. There was a one-in-a-million chance for selected restaurants to be designated as Black Diamond – the top rating in the awards.

To facilitate maximum participation, this year’s awards ceremony took place in a virtual metaverse venue of The Londoner Macao – a first-of-its-kind for the sector. Using digital technology, Group and Sands China together built an innovative metaverse venue of The Londoner Macao. Group Gourmet 2022 Global Restaurant Awards Expands Categories

This year also saw Group Gourmet 2022 Global Restaurant Awards expand the subcategories offered in the awards. For example, tags like "Traditional Style" and "Internet Influencer Pick" that distinguish specific restaurant characteristics and, "Late-night" and "Brunch" that highlight the service type, as well as "Child-friendly" and "Dine Alone" tags for specific groups.

The inclusiveness of the list is readily apparent from the number of categories of restaurants on the list. For example, under the feature tag "Popular Restaurants," there are both high-end restaurants and snack shops; under the "Dating Couples" tag there are cafes and bars with a "Maximum Romance" rating, as well as restaurants with creative dishes for couples to sample together. Group Gourmet Highlights Destination Food Scenes – Macao Restaurants Make the List

As a "City of Creative Gastronomy", Macao has a number of restaurants in Group Gourmet’s awards list, which offers diners both an international culinary experience and traditional Chinese flavours.

Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office expressed: "We are very pleased to display the strength of Macao’s catering industry and the charm of Macao’s gastronomy to the world. Gastronomy has always been an important element of travel. MGTO continues to strengthen its cooperation with the industry and deepen the integration of ‘Tourism + Gastronomy’ to further enhance the attraction of Macao as a tourist destination."

Grant Chum, Chief Operating Officer, Sands China Ltd., said: "The event celebrates ‘City with a Bouquet of Flavours’, which also captures the very essence of Macao as a premier gastronomic destination. Although the pandemic has brought an impact on the tourism industry, Sands China Ltd.’s pursuit of culinary excellence has never stopped. We are honoured to once again team up with Group to create the first metaverse gourmet event and are thrilled to further showcase Macao’s unique appeal as a UNESCO-designated ‘Creative City of Gastronomy’."

Jane Sun, CEO of Group, said at the launch: " Group has stepped up our investment in the culinary sector. Food plays a crucial role in the tourism and urban economies, as well as a defining feature of cultures around the world. In the future, we envision the gastronomic offering of a destination being more integrated into destination brand-building plans. We will continue to work with the Macao Government Tourism Office, Sands China, and other partners to turn traveller interests and expectations for Macao into action, leveraging the incredible food scene to attract more travellers to Macao."

(From left to right) Jane Sun, CEO of Group; Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director of Macao Government Tourism Office; and Grant Chum, Chief Operating Officer of Sands China Ltd., gathered in the metaverse venue
(From left to right) Jane Sun, CEO of Group; Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director of Macao Government Tourism Office; and Grant Chum, Chief Operating Officer of Sands China Ltd., gathered in the metaverse venue

Hosting the First Metaverse Gourmet Event

Unlike previous offline events, this year’s awards ceremony was upgraded to be the first-ever Metaverse Gourmet Event. Global food vendors, industry leaders, and Group users were able to simultaneously attend the Group Gourmet Global Restaurant Awards in the custom-created online event space.

At the event, Group, Shanghai Digital Exchange, Tencent, and Sands China Ltd. also released a limited number of customised NFRs on the Group platform. The novel event format showcased an immersive and elevated traveller experience, aimed at boosting the appreciation of the crucial role culinary arts plays in tourism.

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