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A Tan plans $1.5-B hotel, gaming investment

MANILA, Philippines - Alliance Global Group Inc., the holding firm of real estate tycoon Andrew Tan, is scaling up its investments in the hotel and gaming sector as it prepares to bankroll $1.5 billion to build more than 5,000 hotel rooms over the next five to seven years in a bid to become the largest hotel owner/operator in the country.

AGI, through a joint venture with Genting Hong Kong Ltd., will start construction next year of a new gaming complex, Resorts World Bayshore, at an estimated cost of around $1.1 billion.

Slated for completion in 2016, Bayshore will be a themed tourism estate that will offer around 3,500 hotel rooms alongside leisure, retail, gaming and entertainment facilities.

The first phase of the project, occupying about 16 hectares, includes the development of a luxury and a five-star hotel as well as a Grand Opera House, possibly doubling the 1,500-seating capacity of the Newport Performing Arts Theater.

In a text message, AGI president Kingson Sian said the company would spend another $350 million to $400 million to build more hotels within Resorts World Manila, its first casino venture located across the capital’s newest airport terminal.

Launched in 2009, the 25-hectare Resorts World Manila attracted 4.5 million foot traffic last year and sees the number increasing to seven million this year amid a buoyant local economy.

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Sian said Marriott International Inc. will build another 200 rooms in the next two to three years and expand its 342-room hotel in Resorts World Manila.

A 350 to 400-room Sheraton Hotel will also rise at the Resorts World complexo boost AGI’s current hotel portfolio of 1,570 rooms.

Tan, ranked as the country’s sixth richest man by Forbes Magazine, is betting big on the tourism sector on the back of a booming local economy fueled by robust remittances from overseas Filipino workers, a low interest rate regime and strong corporate earnings.

The aggressive move is seen to help the government attain its target of increasing tourist arrivals from 3.5 million last year to 6.5 million in 2016.

More tourists are expected to flock the country once the four casino resort hubs along Roxas Blvd. open in the next four years.

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