IAG June 2014 - page 10

it throughout Southeast Asia. Tourism is
on the up and up. They’ve got challenges.
The airport’s not a great experience, the
roads aren’t great. But they’reworking on
those things. So by the timewe open I think
we’ll bewell-positioned. The Philippines in
terms of a true destination has a reputation
for having beautiful beaches and friendly
people. Probably not for great cuisine or
fantastic entertainment shows or top-end
hotels. But that’s all going to change. I think
that as that changes everyone’s perception
of the Philippines as a destination also is
going to change. Greatly for the positive.
And the Philippines government is behind
this. The chairman, certainly part of his
mission is to really put the Philippines
on themap, bringing it up to the likes of
Singapore andMacau. So I’m very positive
on the outlook here.
Foryouat thispoint, fivemonths in,what’s
it been like?
I wasworkingon an actionplanprobably
for four or fivemonths before I even started
in terms of what are the key areas I needed
to focus on, key peopleweneeded toput
inplace, what’s our strategy going tobe in
themarket, learnmore about theproperty,
all those kinds of things. So I think I hit the
ground running in that regard.Obviously
sittingdownwith you is oneof those areas.
Becausewehave apretty bad imageout
there.Weneedmorepositivenews. There
areplenty of positive things about the
project and about the chairman andhis
investments in thePhilippines that people
don’t even know about.He’s got a factory
here for hisAruze company. There are game
designers aswell.He’s got a commitment
to thePhilippines regardless of the casino.
He’s not just here to run a casino.He’s been
employinghundreds of people for several
years now. Therehave been a coupleof
speedbumps for theproject alongwith the
way.We’ve just won the casewith [former
development partner] Century Properties.
That’s some really goodnews. There’s
goingoff in their owndirection, doing
some crazy reporting that noone else is
going topick upbecause it’s a lunatic story.
So there are those things that arehappening
aswell, which you’ve got to kindof put aside
to keep focusedon the job. But I’ve really
enjoyed it. I certainly don’t feel that I’ve got
all the answers or I know exactly thenext step
and thenext step and thenext step. So I talk
topeoplewhohave beenmentors forme
throughmy career. And I’ve found it really
refreshing, actually, towork in a Japanese
company. It’s very different. You certainly
need towork on communications protocol,
really build relationshipswith everyone, as
youwouldgenerally. But I’ve found it very
interesting. You know, Japan’s looking at
openingup their industry. So I think it’s a
goodplace tobe. I alsohave a great team
helpingme, with awealthof knowledge and
experience, and adeeppassion about the
project, so I’m very lucky in that regard.
“[MrOkada]gotaMichelin star
inhisfirstyearatKODining in
HongKong, soheknows food
andbeverage.We’re focusedon
that for theAsian customer. I
don’t think it’sbeendonevery
well so far inManila.We’re
going toworkand focusvery
hardon that.”
“There’snoreason togoanywhereelsebutourresort.We’llhave
a full entertainmentoffering, awidearrayof foodandbeverage
offerings.We’regoing tohavea fantastic spa facility.Retail,when
Phase2opens, it’sgoing tobeover70,000 squaremeters. Sowe
thinkwe’vegoteverything thatpeoplewillneed.”
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