LVS wants more land to expand in Singapore

LAS VEGAS SANDS (LVS) said it would love to get its hands on more land in Singapore, its chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson telling reporters this morning that Marina Bay Sands (MBS) was already running out of space.

“Demand for MICE is rapidly bringing us to the point where we may have to ration space or advise users to book six months to a year in advance…not three to six months as is the practice here,” he said.

Adelson said he would take “10 times more land, as much as we can get, whatever amount there is for auction”, even offering the government to reclaim land. “We reclaimed 100 hectares in Macau,” he added.

LVS president and COO, Michael Leven, said he was at the Gardens by the Bay development yesterday and “there was land there for additional hospitality products”, adding “there was a piece of land (across MBS) we’d like to look “.

He said as Singapore continued to increase its number of attractions such as the Gardens, visitor demand was going to be higher than supply. “The entire industry is running over 80 per cent occupancy and there were awful lots of times when it was short of supply,” Leven said.

MBS said more than 11 million people visited the integrated resort (IR) since it opened in April last year. At Marina Bay Sands Hotel, about 75 per cent of guests welcomed in 2010 were foreigners, with top markets being Indonesia, China and Malaysia.

Adelson now expects MBS to recoup its US$6 billion investment in four years, from five years previously.

He said he would like to set up a network of IRs in the region, dismissing pundits’ voice about potential cannibalisation in such a move. “Singapore, for us, has opened up a new market in South-east Asia that most people did not understand existed.

“For the youngest person in this audience, for the rest of his life, there will never be saturation in this part of the world. If you want to reach the limit of demand, just change everybody’s culture. (Reality is), demand for this type of facility that has entertainment, casino, etc, is unending…For the life of me, I can’t see that happening even with the youngest person in this room. And that’s not me.”

The grand opening today also marks the official launch of the world’s first ArtScience Museum, which has lined up impressive opening shows, including Genghis Khan: The Exhibition featuring the largest collection of Genghis Khan artefacts ever assembled.

It was marred however by the death of Michelin-star chef Santi Santamaria last night after an apparent heart attack. The chef was one of seven celebrity chefs who were presented to the international media yesterday as part of the grand opening celebrations.

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