Asian tourists trickling back into Razon-led casino resorts

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Tycoon Enrique Razon’s Bloomberry Resorts Corp., the operator of integrated casino resort Solaire Resort & Casino, has seen the return of South Korea and Chinese tourists.

“We’ve seen an increase in travelers from these two countries and other countries in Asia,” Razon said.

He said this is because South Korea and China have removed restrictions and lockdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moving forward, Bloomberry sees the trend continuing this year.

Credit watcher Fitch has reported that international flights were still about 70 percent below the pre-pandemic levels in early April and air fares were expensive.

But it noted that flights to Southeast Asia from China were “ramping up quickly.”

Razon said the lifting of travel restrictions in the Philippines and in other countries have brought back tourists, including mass gamers, to Solaire.

Solaire’s VIP, mass table and electronic gaming revenues reached P16.5 billion, P16.8 billion and  P16.9 billion last year respectively, representing year-over-year growth of 144 percent, 48 percent, and 77 percent.

Mass tables and electronic gaming segments have each reached 100 percent of pre-pandemic levels, Bloomberry said.

This brought gross gaming revenue at Solaire at P50.1 billion last year, representing an increase of 81 percent from P27.6 billion in 2021.

Net income reached P5.1 billion, a reversal from a net loss of P4.2 billion last year, on net revenue of P38.9 billion, or an increase of P22 billion from a year ago.

In the fourth quarter alone, Bloomberry posted a net income of P1.1 billion, a turnaround from a net loss of P1.3 billion.

Non-gaming revenues, meanwhile, reached P6.7 billion for 2022, double the P3.3 billion generated in the previous year. In the fourth quarter, consolidated non-gaming revenue was P2.2 billion, higher by 123 percent compared with the same quarter in 2021.

At Solaire, non-gaming revenue for the year was P6.7 billion, also double from 2021. Hotel occupancy in 2022 was 53.7 percent, compared to 19.2 percent in 2021.

With business returning to normal, Razon said Bloomberry is focused on its expansion as well, targeting to open its integrated casino resort in Quezon City, Solaire North, in the first quarter of 2024.

After that, Bloomberry may also develop another casino resort in Ternate, Cavite.

“We just land banked this area, we acquired land in this area, but any plans for that will come after we open Solaire North,” Razon said, noting that there are no firm plans yet for the Ternate project.

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