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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Genting's Sentosa casino gears for opening

By early 2010, a good 60-70 per cent of the new casino resort in Singapore will be opened to receive guests

Genting Bhd's new casino resort in Singapore will start receiving guests in two-thirds of the facilities by early next year, including Southeast Asia's first Universal Studio theme park and the casino.

It is aiming for 60 per cent overseas visitors, most of whom will come from Malaysia. Other key target markets are China, India, Indonesia and Thailand.

An estimated 12 million to 13 million visitors are expected to arrive in the first year at the resort on Sentosa Island, a stone's throw from the harbourfront Vivocity shopping mall.

"By early 2010, a good 60-70 per cent will be opened. We are talking about the Universal Studio, four hotels, part of Festive Walk, which is a dining and shopping area, and the casino," Robin Goh, assistant communications director of Resorts World at Sentosa Pte Ltd, told Business Times in an interview in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
"We would love to (open by Chinese New Year), but we don't have the date yet," he said.

The rest of the project, including the Oceanarium and two more hotels, will be ready in the following months.

The company is ramping up publicity and marketing efforts to prepare for ticket sales which will start towards the year-end. As a prelude to the opening, a charity concert will be staged within the resort in December, Goh said.

Both the integrated resorts in Singapore are expected to open in the first three months of next year.

Analysts are speculating that Resorts World, which started construction later, may be the first to open after Marina Bay Sands encountered some delays.

Marina Bay Sands will probably open in either January or February, its executive director of sales Paul Stocker told Business Times separately.

Analysts believe that the two resorts will strive to start operations before Chinese New Year, which falls on Valentine's Day next year, to capture the peak period for the casino.

Goh said that Resorts World had yet to decide the ticket price for the theme park or the hotel room rates, but was "mindful" of its pricing strategy to attract the crucial Malaysian crowd.

It will probably bundle hotel stays with entrance fees, apart from the day ticket, two-day pass and annual pass.

"What is important is that Malaysian families must be able to see value for money in our theme park.

"The proposition is that this will be the nearest Universal Studio among the four parks in the world, and it is a world-class facility and not a watered-down version."

There will be 24 rides in Singapore's Universal Studio compared with around 21 for the other destinations in Osaka, Japan, and Orlando and Los Angeles in the US.

Eighteen of the rides are built exclusively for the park in Singapore, Goh said.

Among the highlights, a new Transformers ride will debut in Singapore, replacing the popular Spiderman three-dimension thrill ride which is already in all the three existing parks.

By Business Times (by Chong Pooi Koon)

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