Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc.
When AGI announced to all and sundry that it planned to make the Philippines a world-class tourist destination and place the country in the global tourism map, very few took the company’s pronouncement seriously. Most thought that such a grand plan was too big for any single company in the country to achieve.
But AGI was sure that with just the right investments, some well-planned infrastructure projects, and a firm resolve to do the right thing, the company would be able to help make the Philippines a major tourist attraction in the region and beyond.
For one thing, PAGCOR officials predict that the Philippines can easily surpass what Las Vegas, the world’s gaming capital, earns in casino revenues once the Entertainment City project is fully operational. Moreover, studies have shown that the number of tourists that come to the country is merely capped by the sore lack of first-class hotel rooms, which number only around 15,641 in Metro Manila, as of latest count. The construction of world-class hotels within the Entertainment City complex will boost this number by 72 percent allowing more tourists and gaming enthusiasts, especially from North Asia, to visit the country. Once fully completed, the Entertainment City complex will add more than 5,000 five-star hotel rooms, making it the single biggest concentration of first-class hotel accommodations in the country.
And so it was in 2008 that AGI made a well-thought-out move to participate in a Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) master-plan to develop a major Las Vegas-style leisure and entertainment complex, aptly named Entertainment City. AGI knew that participating in this major tourism project, the first of its kind in the country, would allow them to set in motion a series of ambitious tourism projects that would help them in their grand design. True enough, PAGCOR gave AGI, through the company’s subsidiary Travellers International Hotel Group (Travellers International), the very first provisional license to participate in the PAGCOR Entertainment City project.
It was then that AGI’s dream of venturing into tourism-related development come into reality with the birth of and Travellers International AGI’s newest tourism business arm. Travellers International is AGI’s joint venture with Genting Hong Kong Limited (formerly known as Star Cruises Limited), a member of the Malaysian Conglomerate Genting Berhad and the world’s third largest cruise line operator.
Now, just around three years since its ambitious plan was conceived, AGI has already proven the naysayers wrong. The Philippines is now steadily on its way to becoming a major tourism force in Asia and the Pacific. Travellers International owns and runs a major project that is currently contributing substantially to local and international tourism- Resorts World Manila. Travellers International had allotted over US$600 million to develop the leisure complex, situated within the 25-hectare Newport City. A flagship project of Travellers International, the 12-hectare Resorts World Manila opened to the public in August 2009. Considered the country’s very first integrated tourism estate, Resorts World Manila has the largest gaming facility in the Philippines that’s housed in three levels, with 300 table games and over 1,800 slot machines.
Resorts World Manila has three fully operational hotels the five-star Marriott Hotel, the six-star Maxims Hotel, the budget-class Remington Hotel and two more hotels that are still under construction- the Belmont Hotel and Savoy Hotel and a world-class shopping center- the Newport Mall. Marriott Hotel was the first international hotel to open in the resort and has 342 rooms, three dining outlets, a ballroom, multiple meeting rooms, a spa, and other amenities. RWM has started to construct the Marriott Grand Ballroom which aims to hold several events at 1 place. This will showcase 4 Ballrooms, and 14 Function Rooms, high end shops, chapel and F&B outlets and it will be operational by 2015. Maxims Hotel, in turn, is the country’s very first six-star, all-suite luxury hotel with 172 lavishly furnished suites. The budget-class Remington Hotel, which caters to middle-class local tourists offers 712 rooms, Belmont Hotel with 480 rooms, and Savoy Hotel with 610 rooms for those who want to stay in Resorts World Manila permanently. Resorts World Manila has started to construct the Marriott Grand Ballroom which aims to hold several events in one place. This will showcase 4 ballrooms, and 14 function rooms, high-end shops, chapel and F&B outlets and it will be operational by 2015. In total, the five hotels are set in full swing to boost AGI’s room inventory in Resorts World Manila to over 2,000 hotel rooms by 2016 when tourist carnivals are expected to hit 6.5 million.
Newport Mall is the focal point of activity of the tourism estate. The luxury, four-level mall houses specialty shops of international clothing and apparel brands and a variety of dining and amusement establishments. The resort also has state-of-the- art cinemas plus a 1,532-seater Newport Performing Arts Theater that serves as the mall’s centerpiece. The theater is equipped with modern stage, sound and lighting equipment and features an elegant vestibule with crystal chandeliers and a spectacular bar designed by Filipino sculptor Impy Pilapil who is known for her iconic glass and stone sculptures.
Barely two years since its opening, the Newport Performing Arts Theater has already showcased some of the finest local and international acts and artists such as David Pomeranz, Lea Salonga, Christian Bautista and Bobby Kim, as well as musicals like The Sound of Music and The King and I. The theater is also a favorite venue for special events like beauty pageants and corporate programs and productions.
With the additional development at Resorts World Manila, AGI expects daily visitors to increase from the current 16,500 to around 30,000 in the next few years. Right now, 90% of Resorts World visitors come from the domestic market with the remainder from neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, China and South Korea.
The success of Resorts World Manila has moved Travellers International to launch a new Resorts World project, this time in Entertainment City. Dubbed Resorts World Bayshore City, this new tourism estate is much larger than its predecessor and will occupy around a third of the 90-hectare PAGCOR Entertainment City.
The 30-hectare Resorts World Bayshore City is envisioned to be a themed tourism estate with around 3,500 hotel rooms and leisure, retail, gaming and entertainment facilities—the kind that Resorts World outlets have come to be famous for. Resorts World Bayshore City is seen to not only promote local and international tourism in the country but to also significantly contribute to the country’s economic development by creating over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs, thereby boosting the country’s employment rate. Travellers International is setting aside at least $1.1 billion for the project with construction expected to commence in the latter part of 2012 and be completed by 2016.
As young as the company is, Travellers International has already done so much to uplift the state of tourism in the country. By amplifying leisure and entertainment in the country to world-class standards, Travellers International has reached out to tourists across the globe with one clear message: it’s more fun in the Philippines.
Indeed, Travellers International’s projects, either by itself or in association with like-minded local and foreign companies, have contributed significantly to enhancing the country’s image in the global tourism arena. In the next few years, we can expect a stronger and more tourist-friendly Philippines.