Melco Urges Easing Of Philippines’ Visa Process For Chinese Visitors
Geoffry Andres, Chief Operating Officer of Melco Crown Philippines Resorts Corp. (MCP) has urged the Philippines government to ease the country’s visa processes for visitors from China.
Andres has pointed out that the country’s onerous rules were hampering Chinese visitors who are looking for alternatives to Macau to gamble.
The ongoing crackdown on corruption has caused a sharp decline in Chinese visitors heading to Macau’s casinos, who now prefer to go to neighbouring countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines. According to visitor records in the Philippines, 490,841 Chinese tourists visited the country in 2015, making China the fourth largest tourist market for the country.
Andres made his observations on the sidelines of MCP’s latest shareholders meeting in Manila. In a statement Andres said,
We have a big opportunity to [tap] this mainland Chinese market and one of the things on my wish list is easing the visa requirements for Chinese tourists. If we do that, that will raise all boats not only for the gaming industry, but for the tourism industry overall.
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Andres said that Philippines must follow the lead of other countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Australia who have eased up visa norms making it easier for Chinese nationals to travel. According to Andres, time-consuming visa rules often results in loss of tourists who are likely travel spontaneously. He added that if the process was made easier, more people would visit and on return talk about their experiences. He stated that there were a lot of return visits observed by MCP which would be encouraged by more convenient processes.
Speaking on the same occasion, MCP Chairman and President Clarence Chung stated that the company was optimistic about the potential of the Philippine gaming market despite heightening competition and a general slump in the country’s casino industry.
Chung highlighted that the Philippine gaming market had enormous potential to expand and MCP was doing everything it could to offer the best possible experience to its customers. MCP reported a loss of PHP1.14 billion ($24.6 million) for the first quarter of 2016, which was significantly lesser than the loss of PHP3.09 billion ($66.6 million) declared in the same period last year. The improved performance was driven by doubling of revenue and reducing its expenses.
Chung said that the company had focused on reducing its operating costs and increasing attention on non-gambling facilities to stem its losses. He added that the company was doing its best to improve its cash flows and its EBITDA.
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