Singapore
Published October 11, 2006

Genting's lavish $5b proposal has fun, gaming and hotels

By DANIEL BUENAS

GENTING International has thrown down the gauntlet in the three-way match-up for the Sentosa IR, announcing yesterday that it will spend more than S$5 billion to build a 'must see, must visit' resort that will attract 10 million tourists a year by 2015.

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Big tourist draw: An artist's impression of Cartoon World at the S$1.6 billion Universal Studios Singapore, part of Genting's proposal

Genting's $5 billion Sentosa bid rivals both the investment amount pledged by the Marina Bay site winner Las Vegas Sands and its own earlier bid for the Marina site.

In a statement yesterday, Genting - which has teamed up with Star Cruises and Universal Parks & Resorts - said its resort would create some 45,000 jobs.

The proposed Resorts World at Sentosa takes it name from Resorts World Bhd, a member of the Genting Group, which is mainly involved in the group's resort business in Malaysia's Genting Highlands.

Resorts World Bhd's activities cover leisure and hospitality services, which comprise amusement, gaming, hotel and entertainment.

'We will invest over $5 billion to develop Resorts World at Sentosa into Singapore's most successful tourist destination,' said Lim Kok Thay, chairman of Genting International and Star Cruises. 'Besides an investment of more than S$1.6 billion for Universal Studios Singapore, we are also committing significant resources to develop other outstanding attractions at the resort.'

Mr Lim said the resort would feature leisure, entertainment and edutainment attractions.

Genting also said in its statement that its 'understanding and knowledge of Asian customer needs and relations in the travel community' will promote greater spending by tourists - including sophisticated mid and high-end gaming leisure customers.

Genting had previously announced that its Universal Studios Singapore theme park would draw more than five million visitors a year, be about 22 hectares in size and feature 16 new or updated rides unique to Singapore.

Genting said yesterday the resort would offer a total of six 'exceptional and uniquely designed' hotels and a soft opening would take place at end-2009.

'We are confident of making Resorts World at Sentosa a resounding success,' Mr Lim said.

Genting had previously announced that award-winning American architect and designer Michael Graves would design the resort, and that it would build a 460-room boutique hotel designed entirely by Mr Grave's firms - furniture, finishings and all.

'We believe the offerings at our proposed resort will elevate Singapore as the preferred leisure holiday destination for families,' Mr Lim said. 'Resorts World at Sentosa will be the anchor and catalyst for an exciting new phase in Singapore's tourism industry.'

Mr Lim added that through the pan-regional presence of Star Cruises, the resort would benefit regional tourism, as it would create 'a sustained spillover of visitors to the neighbouring destinations'.

Genting announced at the weekend that it had gained control of the UK's largest casino operator, Stanley Leisure - a move Mr Lim said could help bolster its bid for the Sentosa project.

Analysts have tipped Genting as the front-runner in the Sentosa IR race.