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Macau Casino Bets on Japanese Customers

14 July 2006

MACAU – As reported by the Japan Times: "The massive Venetian Macao casino resort is set to open in 2007, and there are hopes that this mega resort, which will feature one of the biggest convention centers in Asia, will lure Japanese who are doing business in China.

"It is being built by Venetian Macao Ltd., a unit of U.S. casino giant Las Vegas Sands Corp., and is based on the same concept as the famous Venetian in Las Vegas.

"'We see this as being very important in terms of a shop window either to sell to China or to buy from China,' Frank McFadden, chief operating officer of Venetian Macao, said in a recent interview.

"McFadden expects Japanese businesspeople will come and attend conferences and exhibitions held at 'Asia's Las Vegas' due to its proximity to mainland China.

"…Currently, Japanese account for less than 1 percent of total visitors to Macau, though the number is rising in line with overall growth. In the January-April period, the number of visitor arrivals totaled 7.12 million, up 19.6 percent from a year earlier, and 62,833 of them came from Japan, up 18.6 percent, according to government data.

"Given the company's estimates of 38 million visitor arrivals in 2010 based on assumed annual growth of 5 percent from 18.7 million in 2005, McFadden sounds optimistic also about Japanese visitors.

"Fewer Japanese are coming to Macau now because there are no direct flights and no reasons for business tourists to come because there are no conferences, exhibitions or big conventions, McFadden said.

"For tourists on long weekends, Macau airport is already discussing direct flights with two Japanese airlines, he noted, 'So people can quickly come to spend weekends in Macau.'…"

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