Alexa

Venetian Macao aims to transform Chinese gambling enclave into full-fledged resort city

Venetian Macao aims to transform Chinese gambling enclave into full-fledged resort city

Casinos like the Wynn and Sands have already helped this southern coastal Chinese city surpass the Las Vegas Strip as the world's most lucrative gambling center.
The Venetian, scheduled to open Tuesday, aims to take a further step and transform Macau from a gambling pit stop for Chinese tourists to a vacation and business convention destination, where visitors can spend a few days shopping, watching shows _ and rolling the dice.
Macau's casinos are currently scattered across the territory, which comprises a peninsula connected to mainland China and the outlying Cotai island.
American billionaire Sheldon Adelson hopes his Venetian Macao Resort Hotel on Cotai will help launch a massive, concentrated resort area he calls the Cotai Strip, after its Las Vegas counterpart.
The Venetian is located in what will be the largest building in Asia and the second largest in the world. The largest is a Boeing Co. plant in the northwestern U.S. state of Washington.
With gondoliers sailing down canals, the 3,000-room Venetian tries to recreate the beauty of Venice. The complex also boasts a 15,000-seat sports arena, retail space for 350 stores, 1.2 million square feet (108,000 square meters) of convention space, fine dining and a Cirque du Soleil-produced show.
That's just for starters. Adelson also plans to open more hotels under brands like Four Seasons, Sheraton and St. Regis next door. In all, his Las Vegas Sands Corp., which also runs the Sands Macao on the Macau peninsula, plans to invest up to US$12 billion (euro8.8 billion) and build 20,000 hotel rooms on the Cotai Strip.
Opinions are mixed on whether he will succeed.
Some analysts believe Adelson is smart to broaden the range of tourists visiting Macau. The convention business _ a specialty of the Las Vegas Sands _ is a lucrative one, they say.
"The Venetian will get new customers who are right now not going to Macau at all," analyst Billy Ng at JPMorgan Securities said.
Las Vegas Sands President William Weidner said earlier that 44 major conventions have already been scheduled at the Venetian for the next two years.
He also said he expects the Venetian Macao to lengthen the average guest stay to three to four days from 1.2 days in other Macau hotels.
Others say it will take time to change tourism patterns in Macau.
Rob Hart at Morgan Stanley said Macau will never become a diversified travel destination like Las Vegas.
"It's going to be slow transition ... it's never going to happen to the same extent," Hart said.
"(Visitors will) go to the mall, but mainly they'll go to the casino," he said.
There are also doubts about whether Western entertainment like Cirque du Soleil will appeal to an Asian clientele.
"It may be more useful to do an Andy Lau concert there than Cirque du Soleil," Gabriel Chan at Credit Suisse Hong Kong said, referring to a veteran Hong Kong actor-singer.


Updated : 2021-03-01 22:50 GMT+08:00