• Peaceful end to sea row to boost PH casinos

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    Chinese tourists will likely flock to Philippine gaming resorts when Manila and Beijing finally settle their territorial row on the West Philippine Sea.

    Kelvin Tan, international marketing chief and executive vice president of Melco Crown Entertainment owned by Hong Kong billionaire Stanley Ho, said thousands, perhaps even millions, of Chinese gamers would love to invade Manila casinos.

    Tan cited Chinese outbound travel to the Philippines last year, which registered higher growth than visits to South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Russia, Taiwan and even Macau.

    He said although Philippines has the smallest base, the 70-percent growth was terrific and very encouraging despite the “ping pong” diplomacy between Manila and Beijing.

    Records show that only 250,883 Chinese went to Manila in 2012, a three-percent increase from 2011 arrivals. But in 2013, the numbers went up to 426,352 or a 70-percent jump.

    Tan said many Chinese from the north like Beijing or from the cooler regions in the mainland prefer to vacation in tropical countries like the Philippines. jaime pilapil

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