The making of Hann: A bold step, a great feat | Inquirer Business

The making of Hann: A bold step, a great feat

/ 11:00 AM May 28, 2024

Written by: Amy R. Remo

In business, there will always be those who adhere to conventions, opting to follow well-trodden paths.

But every so often, there would also emerge a few bold visionaries like South Korean businessman Dae Sik Han, who dared to chart new territories, push boundaries, and create what could soon be a globally renowned destination in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.

Bold philosophy

Han has rightfully pioneered the integrated resort concept in Clark through the Hann Resorts brand, which owns and operates the 11-ha Hann Casino Resort, a luxury integrated entertainment and gaming resort inside Clark Freeport, and the upcoming 450-ha Hann Reserve, a multi-billion mountain resort in New Clark City, Tarlac.

Hann Casino Resort in Clark, Pampanga

Fittingly dubbed as the “millionaire’s playground” of the north, Hann Casino Resort has, this early, redefined the gaming, leisure, hospitality and dining landscape in the region. It even earned the title as the “Culinary Capital” of Clark owing to the array of world-class dining options it offers.

Beyond Clark however, Han is already seeking to replicate his impressive success in Hann Casino Resort in his highly ambitious venture in Tarlac. Through Hann Reserve, he intends to bring some of the most prestigious brands to create what will soon be the ultimate eco-sanctuary playground in New Clark City.

Through these destinations, Han encourages his guests to indulge in bold escapes, bold flavors and bold adventures, echoing his own bold philosophy that inspired him to invest in Clark nearly two decades ago.

Recognizing potential

It was in 2005 when Han first set foot in Clark, as a tourist out to play golf. Admittedly, he found it unimpressive. But there was something about this former military base that drew him in, urging him to take a closer look at what Clark could offer.

Where others saw obstacles, Han saw numerous exciting possibilities.

“At the time, the shortage of quality hotels spurred me to establish my own, Widus Hotel. Despite the inevitable challenges of entrepreneurship, I received support from Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), which started my journey,” Han shared.

Hann Resorts Chairman and Ceo Dae Sik Han

According to Han, he recognized the huge potential of Clark owing to the presence of the expanded Clark International Airport, the massive improvements in the region’s infrastructure which boosted connectivity, and the support of state agencies like CDC and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

“All these factors make Clark a promising business location for investors,” he added.

In August 2006, Han established Widus International Leisure Inc., owner and proprietor of Widus Hotel and Casino. It was in 2008 that he would open Widus Tower One, and in 2009, his casino with only 24 tables and 150 slot machines.

Facing hurdles

Han’s journey, however, was not without challenges, particularly during the early years.

Navigating local regulations, understanding legal requirements, and developing the necessary infrastructure for business operations posed significant hurdles for this South Korean national, who had no previous background of operating a business in the Philippines. But he was clearly undeterred—resolute in his goal of creating a world-class destination in Clark.

Expansions began in 2013 when he opened the second tower of Widus Hotel, and in 2014 when he expanded the gaming area.

Many ‘firsts’

Han, however, was raring to do more—which he did, in more ways than one.

With his ambitious vision and drive, Han also brought to Clark many firsts—the first five-star hotel in Central Luzon through Marriott, the first Swissotel in the country, the first luxury integrated resort development in the region with Hann Casino Resort, among many others.

Hann Casino Resort at night

“Presently, we have Clark Marriott and Swissotel Clark, with plans to open more branded residences, expanding options for our clientele. To cement our status as a premier choice for travelers and investors, we ensure our offerings cater to diverse needs. In the Clark Freeport Zone, we deliver five-star hospitality and gaming experiences. Our ongoing development in New Clark City is Hann Reserve with 450-hectares where can we introduce a whole new concept for luxury travelers. We will bring the first and only PGA-affiliated golf facility in the Philippines, comprising three championship-style 18-hole golf courses, over five luxury hotel brands, upscale residential projects, luxury retail, international schools, and more,” Han disclosed.

“My vision is to set a global standard for integrated resort development in the Philippines,” he added.

Reshaping the landscape

Today, Hann Resorts continues to reshape the landscape of this freeport.

As the biggest investor in Clark, it has gone beyond providing a mere destination. It has also, more importantly, helped drive economic activities, generate quality jobs and fuel progress not only within Clark, but also in surrounding locales. It’s notable too that Hann Resorts consistently ranked as one of the top revenue-generating companies in Clark.

At the same time, the company gives back to the community through Hann Foundation Inc.’s projects, which focus on education, health, cultural preservation, and sustainability.

“Ultimately, my goal is for Hann to be recognized globally as a game-changer in the hospitality and gaming industries, not only for our topnotch facilities but also for our initiatives that showcase the Philippines and its people,” he said.

“Looking ahead, I envision our company leaving a legacy. We aim to showcase this vibrant destination and leave an indelible mark on the global stage,” Han concluded.


This article is brought to you by Hann Casino Resort.

TAGS: BrandRoom, Hann Casino Resort

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