MANILA, Philippines – The tourism industry is expected to get a huge shot in the arm from the Las Vegas-style resorts being developed at the Entertainment City of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).
“Integrated resort and gaming projects are powerful drivers of tourism revenue growth, as may be gleaned from Singapore’s recent experience,” Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas said.
Gullas said Singapore’s tourism income soared by 74 percent from $10.2 billion in 2009 to $17.7 billion in 2011, owing to the launch of the Marina Bay Sands gaming resort in April 2010.
Bloomberry Resorts Corp., a Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE)-listed entity, is putting up the $1.2-billion, world-class gaming resort Solaire Manila on 8.3 hectares of reclaimed land leased from Pagcor.
It is the first of four proposed gaming resorts to rise on Pagcor’s 120-hectare Entertainment City at the former Nayong Pilipino in Parañaque City.
“The gaming resort will help fulfill President Aquino’s dream for the country to pull in up to 10 million foreign visitors annually by 2016,” Gullas said.
Solaire could easily double the country’s yearly tourism revenues to $6 billion over a short period, he said.
Even Cebu and other key provincial tourist spots that are just an hour away from Manila by air stand to benefit from the project, Gullas pointed out.
“With ample promotional linkages, foreign guests drawn to the gaming resort may also be lured to visit Cebu’s beaches and other attractions, or the other way around,” he said.
Either way, Gullas said foreign guests would be encouraged to stay longer and spend more when they visit the country.
Through the Mactan International Airport, Cebu receives direct flights and a growing number of foreign visitors from South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan.
Solaire Manila’s Phase 1, costing $650 million, or P27.67 billion, will open in 10 months, according to a Bloomberry filing with the PSE.
It will consist of 27,700 square meters of gaming area with 1,200 slot machines and 300 gaming tables.
Phase 1 will also have 500 hotel rooms, a 240-seat Chinese restaurant, a 148-seat American steakhouse, a 146-seat Japanese restaurant, a 120- seat Italian restaurant, a 250-seat international buffet/coffee shop, a 176-seat noodle shop, a 216-seat food court and a 66-seat lobby bar.
It will likewise have a 1,000-seat grand ballroom, a wellness center, a promenade overlooking Manila Bay, and a multi-level, 3,000-slot car park.
With the line “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” the government has launched a new brand campaign to aggressively attract tourists.
The country expects some 4.6 million foreign visitors this year, up by 700,000, or 18 percent, from 3.9 million in 2011.
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