Monday, October 13, 2008

IR operators unfazed by recession woes?

Monday . October 13, 2008

THE operators of Singapore's two integrated resorts, the largest
construction endeavours in recent years, have expressed confidence about
their projects despite a recession in the Republic.

In response to Today's queries, both Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World at
Sentosa - slated to open at the end of next year and early 2010 respectively
- said they remain optimistic about tourism prospects in Singapore and their
ability to ride through any prolonged downturn.

"We do not yet see a need to revise our 15 million visitor target in our
first year of full operations. Travel agents are telling us that we can
revitalise stagnant markets, so we will work to meet that expectation," said
Ms Krist Boo, vice-president of communications at Resorts World.

In the same vein, Mr George Tanasijevich, Marina Bay Sands' general manager
for Singapore development, noted the Singapore market's history of
resilience in challenging times.

"We remain 100 per cent committed to ... helping Singapore achieve its
tourism goals despite the challenging economic climate," he said.

He added he was confident the resort would be able to attract business and
leisure tourists from the key markets of China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia
and Thailand.

The Singapore Tourism Board said in September that its target of welcoming
10.8 million visitors this year won't be met, although it remained hopeful
that the tourism receipts target of $15.5 billion is still within reach.

On the question of costs and financing, Resorts World said it has to date
awarded $3 billion worth of contracts, including those for Universal
Studios, four hotels, the casino, and FestiveWalk.

It has also locked in prices of concrete and steel "at very competitive
prices" in the initial stages of construction. "We will continue to manage
our contracts and project costs prudently," said Ms Boo.

Both companies reiterated that they have obtained the necessary financing
for their resorts earlier in the year.Cheow Xin Yi