CASINO

Casino boss Kazuo Okada punts on Philippine airport modernization project

TAGs: Jasmine Solana, Kazuo Okada, Matt Hurst, Philippines

Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada is setting his sights beyond building a $2.4 billion integrated resort in the Philippines.

Casino boss Kazuo Okada punts on Philippine airport modernization projectThe casino mogul, according to his Filipino business partner Antonio Cojuangco, is planning to cement his business footprint in the Asian country through other infrastructure projects—such as a new international airport—that will put the Philippines on the global tourism map.

Cojuangco, whose All seasons Hotels & Resorts owns the land on which Okada Manila—previously known as Manila Bay Resorts—is being built, told the Philippine Star the Okada “specifically expressed his desire to bid for the international airport” when he paid a courtesy call on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

“He believes the airport is your first contact and so your airport, if well designed an efficient, people will talk about that and more tourists will come together,” Cojuangco said, according to the news outlet.

The country’s international airport is located a short distance from Okada Manila, Okada and Cojuangco’s integrated resort whose first phase is scheduled to open in Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (PAGCOR) 100-hectare Entertainment City in November.

Matt Hurst, 2 others leave Okada project

Meanwhile, three of Okada Manila’s executives have reportedly left the project.

Matt Hurst, the executive vice president of casino operations and marketing of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, has resigned to pursue “alternative opportunities,” Tiger Resort announced last week, according to a GGRAsia report.

Hurst has been instrumental in preparing the still under-construction casino venue to address any hospitality challenges, especially since Okada Manila will be attracting the international market to its casino floors. In an earlier interview with CalvinAyre.com, Hurst said Tiger Resort is banking on junket operations to bring people to the casino’s doors.

“We’re talking to a lot of junkets. They represent a significant amount of business still, even in Macau with the downturn, but we’ve had a lot of positive from the biggest junket in Macau who we’re actively speaking to, so we’re positive that with the integrated resort, our room offering… our entertainment, our retail that we truly have a one-stop shop integrated resort that will bring people in,” he said.

Aside from Hurst, two other senior marketing executives—Bruce Himelfarb and Steve Chan—also resigned from their positions after Tiger Resort and Okada Manila “realigned” its “strategic focus.”

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