Las Vegas Sands eyes Asian expansion

FRESH from launching its fourth integrated resort (IR) in Macau, Las Vegas Sands (LVS) is planning to grow its network of IRs across key Asian destinations including South Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

In Macau, LVS already operates Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, Plaza Macao and Sands Macao, in addition to the Sands Cotai Central which opened in a grand affair yesterday. It also operates Marina Bay Sands (MBS) in Singapore.

Besides plans for another 3,600-room property next to Plaza Macao, the fourth tower of Sands Cotai Central is also under development. Due to open after 2013, the fourth tower will house a St. Regis-branded hotel and serviced apartments, adding to the IR’s existing Holiday Inn, Sheraton and Conrad offerings.

Outside of the former Portuguese colony, LVS is looking to expand in North Asia and South-east Asia, with cities such as Seoul, Busan, Tokyo, Taipei, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in the crosshairs.

Speaking at the opening of Sands Cotai Central, LVS chairman and CEO, Sheldon Adelson, said: “We are looking to build two (IRs) each in Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.”

Asked why LVS was targeting these destinations in particular, LVS president and COO, Mike Leven, said: “We are looking at places which have the characteristsics to be successful (in supporting IR development), and are either relatively mature or emerging markets. We need places where there will be people to fill the resorts, where the tourism infrastructure is capable…places where people will want to visit for both MICE and leisure.”

“Our long-term strategy is to have IRs in every Asian capital, using Singapore as the model,” he added.

Meanwhile, Leven confirmed that LVS was in discussions with the Singapore government to develop additional rooms and MICE space on another plot of land adjacent to MBS, a suggestion that was first mooted at the start of last year.

“Marina Bay Sands will run out of space within a year and a half, but it’s going to take a long time (before we get the approval for expansion in Singapore),” he said.

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