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Asia Pacific Editorial

by Murray Bailey, March 2009

Macau’s strip mining

The opening of the Venetian complex (hotel, casino, MICE, entertainment) in August 2007 signalled to us the arrival of the new Macau - what we call the V-factor. That is a partial mining of the Las Vegas leisure strip and its marketing prowess.

Table 1
Expected hotel expansion in Macau
Year Hotels Rooms Rooms/hotel
2008 56 17,651 315
2010 80 39,388 492
2013 123 50,575 411
2018 128 52,373 409
Source: Macau Government Tourist Office, Travel Business Analyst.

-Main openings in 2007:

  • Crown R (= rooms) 216, casino. 
  • Grand Lisboa R429, casino. 
  • MGM Grand R597, casino. 
  • Venetian R3000, casino.
-Main openings in 2008:
  • Ponte 16. Inner harbour; hotel with R423; casino with T (= tables) 105, S (= slot machines) 297.
  • Four Seasons. Cotai Strip. R360; shopping mall; casino T175 S213.
Although there are four main projects on the reclaimed area known as Cotai, the 50ha trade-marked ‘Cotai Strip’, centred on the Venetian, is just one part of this area; other developments have different names. Almost certainly, most will use ‘Cotai Strip’ to mean the whole of Cotai, trade-marked or not.

Table 2
Hotel projects on Cotai, Macau
Name Project
Cotai Strip: Sites 5&6;  1st / Shangri-La & Traders; Sheraton & St Regis.
Cotai Strip:7&8;  2nd / Conrad & Hilton; Fairmont, Raffles & Swissotel.
Cotai Strip: Site 3;  3rd / Holiday Inn & InterContinental; Far East’s Cosmopolitan.
Galaxy World  Two hotels with R2500, casino T700 S4000. Was ‘Galaxy Mega’.
City of Dreams  Crown Towers, Hard Rock, Hyatt. R2200, casino T550 S1500.
Studio City Tang;  Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, & W. R2000, casino T400.
Notes: See text for clarification and amplification. R = rooms, T = tables, S = slot machines. Source: Travel Business Analyst.

In theory, all hotels are due by end-2009, but today’s financial realities may slow this timetable, as well as practical matters - such as a shortage of construction workers.

See below for more details of the Venetian’s Cotai Strip complex.

-Other developments, due now-to-2013:

  •  Science Centre. Includes exhibition and conference facilities.
  •  New ferry terminal. On Taipa, adjacent to airport. 16 berths handling 400 passengers, three handling 1200; helipad; immigration desks.
  •  Airport. Expansion - longer runway, bigger terminal, more aircraft parks - but details unclear.
  •  Border gate; land crossing from China. Capacity up from 300,000 people daily to 500,000; immigration desks up from 56 to 98; automatic immigration desks up from 34 to 80.
  •  Light transport system. 20km, 23 stations, 8000 passengers/hour. Border gate-downtown-Taipa-airport-Cotai-ferry.
  •  Bridge Macau-Zhuhai-Hong Kong (Lantau island, near HK airport). 30km, six lanes.
-Venetian, the ‘V-factor’. The Venetian’s impressive list of facilities includes:
  • 8 hotels (see above and Table 2) on the trade-marked ‘Cotai Strip’, including the 2900-room Venetian itself, with near-22,000 rooms - twice the number in all Macau just two years ago.
  • 55,000sqm of meetings and exhibition space. For 50,000 people and 5000 exhibition booths.
  • 25,000 seats for live entertainment - such as concerts, sport presentation games, Cirque de Soleil permanent theatre, etc.
  • 140,000sqm of gambling rooms and halls (800 tables, 3400 slot machines).
  • 10 boats operating 24-hour service to Hong Kong; another 10 ordered. 
An early survey indicates the V’s guests are different from Macau’s profile - and thus may indicate patterns for the future. V’s sources are Hong Kong 41%, China 26%, Macau 19%, Taiwan 6%. It hopes that eventually 40% will come from outside China.

Of V’s guests, 60% go to Macau for the V itself (the ‘V-factor’), 60% go with their family, and they stay 2.8 days (compared with Macau’s 1.5, itself growing partly because of a longer stay at V).

Gambling revenue share is 80% (which compares with only 40% in Las Vegas). Although part of the reason is that Asian (mainly Chinese) gamblers spend more, V is working to increase the non-gambling share, through MICE and event business.

China; new hotels, new style

As the hotel sector in Beijing matures, three newly-opened hotels mark a change in style: 

  • The 43-room Aman at Summer Palace (Aman Resorts’ first in China) is a conversion of a 19th-century palace just outside the wall of the Summer Palace’s Garden of Harmonious Interests in the northern tip of the park. The Summer Palace is a Unesco heritage site, and until recently Beijing authorities would have been wary of allowing a hotel development – however sensitive the design may be - in the vicinity. 
  • The 99-room Opposite House (of the Swire Hotels group) is a modern design by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, in Sanlitun, Beijing’s popular bar and restaurant area. With an exterior covered in emerald-coloured glass, and restaurants and bars by top international chefs, the hotel is targeting the top end market with rack rates starting at US$472 (Y3220).
  • The minimalist 55-room boutique hotel, The Emperor, is the first urban hotel in China with membership of Design Hotels (a representation and marketing group). Close to Tiananmen Square and surrounded by traditional Chinese low-rise houses and courtyards, the hotel has a classic Chinese-style exterior, but contemporary orange and white interiors, and a glass-floored restaurant serving so-called fusion food. 

Murray Bailey, Editor/Research Director
46 Blvd des Arbousiers
83120 Ste Maxime, France
Tel: (33-4)-9443-8160

Also See: The Development of Cotai Strip Helps Complete a Personal Vision for 72-year-old Sheldon Adelson - Creating a Second Las Vegas; Up to 3 billion People Live a Short Distance from Macau / June 2006



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