An exhausted business traveller checked into the four-star Grandview Hotel on Taipa Island last week, but was given the wrong room key by the front desk. Standing in the hallway with his luggage, he rang for assistance. The response was: 'Could you come down to get the correct key? We only have one bell boy in the building, and he is very busy.' Ironically, the hotel has just spent 8 million patacas on renovation. A flashy digital billboard sign has been installed and decorative lights on the exterior walls change colour. General manager Fong Man-king told the local Chinese-language newspaper, the Macau Daily News, that the new technology would attract more tourists and make the hotel more competitive. Is business going so well that service quality does not matter any more? When told of the incident, an assistant front-desk manager at the 407-room casino-hotel apologised profusely. 'We have a lot of new staff working for us, and they are still learning,' she said. 'No matter how our exterior looks, we should not have treated the customer like that.' The unprecedented tourism boom, fuelled by the relaxation of mainland travel policies in July 2003, has raised concerns in Macau about how many tourists the city can really serve. But the question is no longer whether there are too many tourists crowding the city's attractions and transport network: it is how service quality can catch up, as Macau aspires to become a world-class destination. The front-desk manager's explanation about her new staff might apply to the entire Macau service industry; they are still learning. The city's fifth-highest-ranking official, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Fernando Chui Sai-on, acknowledged last week that two years ago, the government had no idea about the scale of Macau's boom. 'No new policy will bring only benefits and no disadvantages,' he said at a public forum, referring to the mainland's individual travellers' programme. 'What we can do is minimise the disadvantages.' Macau played host to 16.67 million tourists last year, and another 1.4 million in January alone. It has about 10,500 hotel rooms, with another 10,000 expected by 2007, Mr Chui said. That gives Macau less than two years to train the hospitality professionals who will be required to manage the new hotels and casinos. At the Institute for Tourism Studies' training restaurant, where students in uniform wait on tables as a course requirement, one mainland customer cheekily asked a student waitress for her phone number. 'Oh, you mean the restaurant's phone number?' she replied, handing him a business card.