Sands China Ltd President Dr Wilfred Wong says he is confident in the long-term prospects of The Londoner Macao, even while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep Macau’s gaming revenues suppressed.
Dr Wong was speaking with reporters at the official opening ceremony of The Londoner Macao on Monday, which celebrated the completion of Phase 1 following a US$1.9 billion transformation from its original identity as Sands Cotai Central.
Asked about the prospects of Sands China recouping its investment given the current environment, he replied, “You cannot always compare everything to a miracle and the first establishment [The Venetian Macao] was a real miracle. But you know that the other investments we made normally take longer to recover. For example, The Parisian itself is very successful, but it took several years to recoup. And that’s normal.”
The opening of The Londoner Macao comes less than a fortnight after Sands China reported a US$246 million loss for the three months to 31 December 2020, noting at the time that recent outbreaks of COVID-19 in mainland China had also slowed momentum ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday. But Dr Wong said the company was quietly confident of what the coming week holds for Macau.
“Chinese New Year is always Chinese New Year. We are hopeful,” he said. “Obviously there are suggestions that the visitors might not be as good as we expect, but I think it may give us a lot of surprises.”
Dr Wong also laughed off suggestions that the timing of The Londoner Macao’s opening might negatively impact bookings at neighbouring properties The Venetian Macao and The Parisian Macao.
“We have actually been operating a soft opening over the Christmas and New Year period and what we found was this creates an opportunity for people who otherwise would not visit Macau,” he said. “There are people who previously had no plans of coming who responded and booked a room, and based on the occupancy of the hotels, I don’t think we are cannibalizing any of our hotels.”
“Because The Londoner Macao has been completed, we think we should introduce this to the public as well as to the visitors from China and let them have a choice. I think there’s enough tourists to justify some luxury travel. And we are offering a very luxurious environment for visitors.”
Monday’s ceremony flagged completion of a number of new attractions and features at The Londoner Macao, including the The Londoner Hotel with 600 luxury suites, new dining options, London-themed attractions and the Crystal Palace – an ornate main lobby area designed in classic Victorian style and featuring a 33-meter high stained glass ceiling.
The remainder of the new-look IR, including its British-themed exterior, is due to be completed in phases throughout 2021.