Casino cruise ship operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd has announced it will for the first time use Manila in the Philippines as a home port for its SuperStar Virgo vessel (pictured) under its Star Cruises Ltd brand. It says the move is in order to cater for that country’s growing outbound tourism market.
From March 19, 2017, SuperStar Virgo will start running six-day cruises from Manila, calling at Laoag, the capital of Ilocos Norte in the Philippines; Kaohsiung, the largest southern port city in Taiwan; and Hong Kong. The cruises will run until May 28.
According to data from the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the number of Filipinos visiting Hong Kong as tourists in the 10 months to October 31, registered a 13.6 percent year-on-year increase, to 623,517.
A press release issued by Star Cruises indicated that non-Filipinos were also likely to use the new cruise route.
“We are confident that inclusion of the Philippines in the itinerary of SuperStar Virgo will help strengthen the country’s position as a competitive cruise destination in the region,” said a statement from Benito Bengzon, under secretary for the Philippines’ Department of Tourism, quoted in Star Cruises’ press release.
The 13-storey SuperStar Virgo has 935 cabins, and its entertainment facilities include a theatre as well as a casino. The latter is available to passengers when the vessel is in international waters.
Genting Hong Kong is also an investor in land-based casino operations within the Philippines, alongside local conglomerate Alliance Global Group Inc. The venture, called Travellers International Hotel Group Inc, developed and operates the Resorts World Manila casino resort near Manila International Airport.
Third-quarter profit at Travellers International rose 153.5 percent according to a November filing.
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”We expect Goa to quickly become a US$1 billion market as it transitions to land-based casinos (from US$150 million today), which is still just a fraction of India’s total GGR potential of US$10 billion to US$17 billion”
Analyst at Union Gaming Securities Asia