Chinese Tourists Soon Will Cruise into Manila, Philippines Gaming Venues

Posted on: July 22, 2019, 08:47h. 

Last updated on: July 22, 2019, 11:34h.

Cruising to Philippines resort casinos likely will be more of a breeze once Solaire Cruise Center — a two-berth pier for cruise ships — opens on Manila Bay in 2021.

Manila Bay in Philippines will be the site of a two-berth pier for cruise ships located near integrated resorts in Manila. (Image: Philippine Canadian Inquirer)

The cruise center is being developed by Sureste Properties. The company is associated with Bloomberry Resorts Corp., which also owns the Solaire Resort & Casino, a $1.2 billion integrated resort in Manila’s Entertainment City.

Guillaume Lucci, an adviser to Bloomberry Cruise Terminals, said construction on the two berths will begin later this year. It will take about two years to complete.

Our plan is to have this operational by the third quarter of [the] 2021 season,” Lucci was quoted by Seatrade Cruise News. The cruise center may target tourists and casino patrons from mainland China.

The cruise center will be the first dedicated cruise berth in the Philippines, according to the Seatrade report. It could lead to growth in the nation’s cruise tourism, the report adds.

The berths will be large enough so big cruise ships can dock. These include Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class — which were recently ranked as the world’s largest passenger ships — and Genting’s forthcoming Global class, according to GGRAsia.

One of the berths can fit cruise ships up to 365 meters (approximately 1,200 feet). The other can fit vessels up to 345 meters (about 1,132 feet).

Salomague Floating Berth

Also, an off-shore floating berth is to be opened in October in Salomague at Ilocos in the northern Philippines — with passengers using tenders to reach land. It will also be managed by Sureste Properties.

“We had a short period to launch but have so far been able to confirm the first few cruise calls from December 2019 onwards, including Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas and Genting’s World Dream in 2020,” Lucci was quoted by Seatrade. “For these large ships with over 5,000 passengers, economic impact will be felt through the community.”

The Salomague floating berth could target tourists from Hong Kong and South China. The port is close to Vigan and beaches.

The World Dream, a 151,000-ton ocean liner built for Genting Hong Kong (GHK), began sailing in 2017. Like its sister vessel, Genting Dream, which sailed into operation in 2016, World Dream is a floating high-end integrated casino resort.

Its itinerary includes many of Southeast Asia’s gaming spots. World Dream can accommodate 3,400 passengers and 2,030 crew members, with dozens of restaurants, bars, waterslides and an onboard gaming area called “Resorts World At Sea.”

Earlier, Genting was operating casino cruises through its Star Cruises fleet. Dream Cruises was launched in 2016, specifically as a luxury cruise line “conceived and built for Asia,” according to GHK President Kent Zhu.

Airports Need Upgrades Too

Cruising to the Philippines is not the only mode of transportation that needs upgrades. The casino sector would also get a boost if the Philippines upgrades its airports.

Last year, Japanese financial services firm Nomura Holdings said in a note that the aging airports are keeping wealthier tourists from patronizing casino resorts, especially affluent travelers from China.

Philippines casinos won $3.6 billion last year, and the four integrated land-based casino resorts in Manila generated the lion’s share of the gross gaming revenue (GGR). City of Dreams, Solaire, Resorts World, and Okada won $2.71 billion. E-gaming parlors reported GGR of more than $500 million.

Philippines GGR this year is predicted to total $4.1 billion, an 8.5 percent jump from 2018. President Rodrigo Duterte directed PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) to make the Philippines “the top gaming and entertainment destination” in Southeast Asia by 2020.