Widus unveils $100M Clark hotel expansion
MANILA, Philippines–Korean-owned Widus Hotel & Casino will spend an additional $100 million to expand its flagship property in Clark Ecozone in Pampanga amid robust business from both local and international tourists.
According to Widus president and CEO Han Daesik, the fresh investments would be made over a period of four to five years, complementing the $70 million the company had infused into the business since 2008.
“Business is very good from both Korean and local guests,” he said in a briefing on Wednesday. “(Hotel) occupancy is high and we are now finalizing our expansion plans.”
Widus—formerly known as Hotel Vida—is situated on a 4.7-hectare property in the former US air base in Angeles City.
It started operations six years ago with 150 rooms. A casino with 25 gaming tables and 150 slot machines was later added.
Han, who is also the hotel’s owner, said that a more recent expansion program undertaken after he parted ways with the original Spanish hotel management firm, raised the number of casino tables to 52, while the number of slot machines has risen to 200.
The number of hotel rooms also increased to 230, with the inauguration of a second building within the compound.
Han said his expansion plans were inspired by the developments he was seeing at the Entertainment City complex of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and the interest it is generating among both local and foreign tourists and gaming aficionados.
“I want Widus to become an integrated resort, but on a smaller scale,” he said, explaining the rationale behind his expansion plans, adding that he expected to sign a lease for an adjacent three-hectare property with the Clark Development Corp. in early 2015.
“Construction will start between May and July next year,” he added.
Apart from building a third hotel building within the complex, Han said he wanted to eventually include in his Clark development recreation facilities like a water park, convention facilities for corporate clients and possibly a retail component in the future.
At present, he said Widus’ function rooms had a usage rate in the high 70 percent while hotel room occupancy is in the high 60 percent.
This rate—despite the relative lack of activities and facilities in Clark catering to tourists—is expected to rise as the number of international flights to the nearby airport increase.
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