Solaire bullish on 2017 amid knee jerk guest cancellations
The Philippines’ largest casino resort experienced a number of guest cancellations in the aftermath of last week’s attack on Resorts World Manila by a lone gunman who started a fire that resulted in 38 fatalities, and raising fears about its impact on the country’s tourism and gaming industries.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Bloomberry Resorts Corporation chair Enrique Razon Jr. said the firm’s flagship development, some guests and players withdrew their reservations from Solaire Resort and Casino immediately after the incident in Pasay City that was initially feared to be the work of terrorists.
“We had a total of 40 bookings from individuals and junket [operators who cancelled],” he said.
Despite this, the tycoon expressed optimism that the rapid growth of the sector in the first quarter of 2017 would continue for the rest of the year.
He added that Solaire — a sprawling casino resort development in Pagcor Entertainment City on the edge of Manila Bay — had not experienced more guest cancellations after the initial salvo. This, he explained, could indicate resilient demand from the market that has so far experienced a strong 2017.
“The [gaming industry] is going stronger this year, so far. In the first quarter, we had clear growth of 48 percent,” Razon said. You have to be happy with that.”
He said that the aftereffects Resorts World Manila incident on the local tourism industry, having been determined to be an isolated incident, would likely “die down soon.”
Razon pointed out that Solaire is one of the most security conscious gaming properties in the country and invests heavily in technology and personnel to ensure the welfare of its hotel guests and casino players.
“Our security measures are quite stringent already,” he said. “We started beefing up our security measures after the Davao bombing last year, and then we increased the security level when the Marawi incident started. We’re already very tight.”
“We probably are much more concerned with security on a normal basis,” Razon added.
He declined to reveal how much the resort spends for its security measures, but said that the organization employs a security force of 400 personnel assigned inside casinos and along its perimeter, as well as “waterside” on the property’s bay front.
“We also have K-9 units, surveillance systems and control rooms,” Razon said. “We even have security watching the security.”
These measures, he said, are important to reassure guests and patrons that they can enjoy the casino and hotel facilities without worrying for their personal safety.
“[The issue of safety] is extremely sensitive, because it’s a hospitality business,” he said. “You have a hotel, and you have food and beverage outlets, so people have to feel safe. We have to make sure people feel safe when they’re on the property, or in the country for that matter.” JE
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