Hong Kong-listed casino operator Landing International Development Ltd is wooing Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte to allow the construction of another multi-billion dollar leisure and theme park integrated resort in Manila.
Landing announced that the firm’s senior management met with Duterte and his cabinet team at Malacanang Palace in Manila on Monday to present the company’s proposal to build an international branded theme park integrated resort.
This was not the first time that Landing bosses and Duterte met to discuss the company’s desire to invest in the Southeast Asian island nation.
Dr. Yang Zhihui, Chairman and Executive Director of Landing, claimed that Duterte has expressed keen interest in their proposed three-phase integrated resort project.
“Following our first meeting with the President in May 2017 in Hong Kong to discuss investment opportunities in the Philippines, we are pleased to share with President Duterte our vision for tourism in the country and our proposal to build an iconic branded theme park integrated resort on the Philippines that all Filipinos will be very proud of,” Yang said.
According to Landing’s proposal, the Chinese firm will build Asia’s first movie-themed indoor theme park, waterpark, as well as many other leisure and entertainment facilities.
Instead of building a casino resort in PAGCOR’s Entertainment City, Landing reportedly plan to reclaim 147 hectares of Manila Bay.
“When opened, the branded theme park integrated resort will enhance Philippines’ tourism appeal, complement the existing tourists’ attractions and resorts as well as create significant employment opportunities for the locals as well as returning Filipinos who are currently working overseas,” Yang said.
Many observers were left wondering about the possible implication of Landing’s casino investment in the Philippines. China has recently imposed a ban on putting their money on “irrational” overseas investments, such as gambling.
PAGCOR chairman Andrea Domingo recognized earlier this year that the four existing integrated resorts – Universal’s Okada Manila, Bloomberry’s Solaire Resort and Casino, Travellers’ Resorts World Manila, and Melco’s City of Dreams Manila – need “breathing space” to mature their market.
MGM Resorts International skipped investing in Manila as it finds the market to be a bit oversaturated. iGamiX Management & Consulting’s managing partner Ben Lee said his group didn’t believe the Philippines gaming market was “large enough to sustain four major operators.”