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Asian casinos morphing into family-friendly resorts
Pamela Chow, reporting from Asian Attractions Expo, Singapore, June 16, 2017

Where gaming was once the core focus for many casinos across Asia, more gaming operators are now transforming these complexes into mixed-use, family-friendly destinations to drive domestic and tourist spending.


At the Asian Attractions Expo 2017 in Singapore, operators reported a shift towards more multi-generational entertainment options on top of gaming attractions.


Spectra at MBS


According to Ken Wheatley, director of technology supplier Christie, Macau led the pack, after which the development of mixed-use integrated resorts trickled to neighbours like the Philippines, South Korea and Singapore.


The talk of the town is Okada Manila, a 44ha integrated resort in the Entertainment City gaming strip. The US$2.4 billion project boasts a casino, hotel, dining and shopping outlets and conference spaces, in addition to a 1.2km-long multimedia show comprising choreographed water, light and music performances.


Such multimedia shows are also gaining traction with operators across Asia, checking off boxes as a photogenic, sustainable and cost-effective revenue driver, with the Marina Bay Sands' latest Spectra light-and-water extravaganza along its promenade as an example.


Often conducted in the evening, multimedia shows motivate visitors to stay in resorts later or even overnight, and can spark up to 15 per cent more on-site F&B spending, said Jean-Christophe Canizares, chairman and CEO of French multimedia provider ECA2, which developed the Wings of Time show in Sentosa.

They can also be “refreshed easily and changed seasonally”, said Michael Reid, founder of IconPath Curated Experiences.


This is a big selling point – especially for regional parks with smaller budgets – as operators prioritise the “sustained repeatable value” of an attraction, explained managing director of MR ProFun China, Ron Merriman, the company that helmed Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.


Director of entertainment at Walt Disney Attractions Japan, Paul Rivet, shared that the park refreshes its shows every two to three years, with slight changes to elements in between.

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