Sydney hotel and casino The Star is fully booked ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations.
The Chinese New Year celebrations kick off on Monday, February 8 and for the casino industry, especially in Macau, it’s one of the most important events on the calendar as the majority of Chinese gamblers pay a visit over the week-long public holiday.
But with Macau’s downturn, Tte Australian and New Zealand markets are poised to see strong growth in their VIP gaming market.
The Star, which has a base spread between the mass market and VIP gambling sectors, said that its hotel rooms and casino facilities were booked up for the next couple of weeks.
“There was significant demand for its restaurants, hotel rooms and casino facilities with more than 4000 room nights booked over the next fortnight,” The Star managing director Greg Hawkins told The Sydney Morning Herald.
The casino operator added a couple of new VIP rooms to cater to China’s high-roller gamblers who want to play baccarat.
“We’ve got a wide range of gaming rooms for both direct and junket customers and they are all booked out over the next couple of weeks because of the high demand we are seeing at the top of that gaming space.”
CLSA gaming analyst Aaron Fischer expects Chinese tourist visitors to Australasia will increase by an average of 22% a year between 2014 and 2020. It will be the highest growth rate of any region in the world.
“The Chinese economy will continue to grow and Australia will obviously benefit as a result of this,” said Crown Resorts director Harold Mitchell. “The challenge is to make sure we have all the facilities that those tourists need, meaning we need more investment in infrastructure, airports and hotels. We need to keep investing for growth.”
The Star is in discussions with the New South Wales government to build a 360-room hotel at its casino complex. The company is in negotiations with Hong Kong companies Far East Consortium and Chow Tai Fook, which books holidays for 50 million mainland Chinese tourists.
The hotel addition is supported by rival James Packer, who believes it will help attract more international tourists to Sydney.
“The quicker Sydney builds new luxury hotels, the better. Our competitors across Asia and the rest of the world are investing heavily in new hotels, tourism attractions and new transport infrastructure. If we don’t keep up, we will lose jobs and income to other countries,” said a Crown Resorts spokesman.