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Macau was a very poor island nation just a couple decades back. However, it has sprouted forward and is experiencing rapid growth and development as a result of the gambling and casino boom that has helped lift the entire nation in recent years. Today, there is near 0% unemployment and the island has become a busy scene of many millions of annual visitors arriving to spend their money in the casinos, hotels, shops and restaurants.
With the grown and development of the nation, there has been a beautification process that has taken hold of the city as well as squares and footpaths have been retiled (or simply tiled) in the traditional Portuguese style. Old buildings have been repainted, gardens replanted and much more to make visits here more interesting and cultural.
In 2006, Macau was formally recognised and inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known formally as Macau World Heritage, there are 25 individual member attractions within the World Heritage Collection as well as other additional public spaces and interesting attractions that can be visited alongside Macau World Heritage.
Today, The Cotai Strip is a mix of massive hotel and casinos like the Venetian Macau Resort, Sands Cotai Central, City of Dreams and Galaxy. However, one only need look a big further down the mostly vacant Strip and you can see the second phase of mega properties starting to rise from the ground and construction crews race to finish another handful of huge hotel/casino properties during 2015, 2016 and 2017.
In the past, many would visit Macau as a day trip from Hong Kong. Truth be told, much of Macau was dilapidated and quiet. You could see the majority of the interesting attractions in 1/2 a day, have a nice meal and then return to the ferry for your sailing back to Hong Kong. Today, there is easily 2-3 days worth of things to do/see and experience in Macau and if you want to enjoy time at the casinos you can consider a 4-5 day trip to Macau now.