Belle-Melco casino promises tourists, jobs
MANILA, Philippines - The Belle Grande, the hotel-casino joint venture between Henry Sy's Belle Corporation and Macau casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment, will employ 4,500-5,000 workers by the time it opens in mid-2014.
This is according to Belle Corporation Vice Chairman Willy Ocier. "This is going to generate a lot of employment," he said.
"We want to employ Filipinos to work in all the outlets, in the casino and in the hotel. We would like Filipinos abroad to come back home and work for us."
Ocier said that the project is already fully funded on Belle's part. The company is investing $600 million for the planned casino-hotel in Pagcor's Entertainment City gaming project. Ocier added that Belle Corp. will spend $580 million by the end of 2013.
Ocier said that the hotel-casino would start hiring by the 4th quarter of 2013. "We got to get them on board, train them, to make the mid-year opening (next) year," he said.
Better than Solaire?
Ocier said that the Belle Grande must top Solaire, the hotel-casino from Enrique Razon-led Bloomberry Resorts Corporation. The entertainment complex opened on Saturday, March 16.
"The next casino to open should be better than Solaire," he said.
Ocier said that the Belle Grande's competitive advantage is the involvement of Melco Crown Entertainment. "This is the first and only Macau-based conglomerate to invest in the Philippines. And if you've seen what they have in Macau, you'll see how competitive the Philippines will be in the next few years," he said.
Ocier said that the Belle Grand is looking to attract foreign customers to contribute to the country's target of 10 million tourists by 2016.
"We're catering to the middle-income foreigners in the region. This is not for the Filipino. Our thrust is to get more tourism in the Philippines," he said.
"How many (tourists) would come into our resort is anybody's guess. But we want to be part of the tourism infrastructure of the Philippines. We want to help improve the infrastructure."
Ocier said that Belle Corp. is investing in the NAIA Expressway. The 7.75-kilometer elevated expressway will link the 3 NAIA terminals to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), the Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway (CAVITEX) and Entertainment City.
Pagcor chair Cristino Naguiat, Jr. downplayed the gaming industry's effects on tourism. "We're part of tourism. But then again, gaming is just a small part of it," he said.
The Belle Grand, which is expected to have 920 rooms by the time it opens, is anticipating an influx of tourists from China, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia. - Rappler.com