TIGER Resort, Leisure and Entertain-ment Inc., the developer and operator of the integrated resort complex Okada Manila, is planning to build a port on Manila Bay to accommodate visiting large cruise liners that could boost the luxury tourism market in the Philippines, a company official said.
The company earlier said it has been talking to cruise liners to consider Manila as a destination to further boost the country’s tourism.
Lorenz Manalang, Tiger Resorts executive director for public relations, said the company is planning to build a port that can accommodate not only small boats and yachts, but also cruise liners as this can improve Manila’s luxury tourism market.
“Cruise liners are very interested in the Philippines… When we did a courtesy call, we were already being called by the cruise liners,” Manalang told reporters last week.
“They wanted (to come to) the Philippines. But the cruise liners can’t enter here because we don’t have the proper facilities,” he added.
Without going into details, Manalang said the group is currently working on the design of a port that has the capacity to accommodate “small to 50-footer yachts” and several cruise ships.
This is thought to be part of Phase 2 development for Okada Manila, Manalang said, which will consist of a budget family hotel, retail malls, the port, and negotiations or partnership with several cruise liners.
“In fact, the chairman is already buying two to three seaplanes now, all because he believes in the future of Philippine tourism,” Manalang said.
“All of those (plans for Phase 2) are projections, all are on the table, but nothing is final yet,” he said.
“The performance of Phase 1 will dictate how Phase 2 will come in,” he added.
Tiger Resort president Steve Wolstenholme said the group is moving toward Phase 2 development, which is “mostly retail,” while capping off their Phase 1 offerings. Phase 3 and 4 are still “conceptual” as of the moment, he said.
Out of the 44 hectares for Okada Manila, the first 21.55 hectares are already being developed for Phase 1, which will be opened to the public on its soft opening slated in December this year.
Gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada has invested $2.4 billion for the first phase development of Okada Manila.
The Phase 1 development consists of two Y-shaped hotel towers with 993 rooms; an indoor night club and beach club; a casino area with 500 table games and 3,000 electronic games; 21 outlets for various food and beverages brands; a leasing area for high-end retail stores; a 3,000-sqm spa; and one of the world’s largest dancing fountains, which reportedly cost $30 million to build.
The casino resort currently employs 19,000 workers to construct and develop the first phase, and is expected to hire 8,000 personnel when operations begin for Phase 1 development.
Okada Manila is the third of four integrated resorts and casino hubs rising at the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corporation’s (Pagcor) Entertainment City. The other two complexes already operating therein are Enrique Razon’s Solaire & Resort Casino and SM Group’s City of Dreams Manila, while the Andrew Tan group is also building the fourth integrated hub, Westside City.