The ongoing diplomatic dispute between China and South Korea could reportedly be helping casino operators in other Asian nations including Genting Malaysia via its Resorts World Genting integrated casino resort.

According to a report from GGRAsia, the local Maybank Investment Bank recently revealed that tourism industry data had suggested that the number of bookings made by Chinese tourists for trips to Malaysia from mid-March to the end of August had swelled by 72% year-on-year with Resorts World Genting likely to have been one of the “prime beneficiaries”.

Last year saw Beijing begin limiting the number of Chinese nationals permitted to travel to South Korea due to Seoul’s decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system. Former president Park Geun-Hye has agreed to take delivery of the United States-supplied scheme in response to moves from North Korea, which is a neighbor and long-time ally of China, to further develop its offensive missile capabilities.

Instead of staying at home, it would seem that a fair number of Chinese gamblers have decided to visit Malaysia with Kuala Lumpur-based Affin Hwang Investment Bank adding its voice to those who believe the move will ultimately benefit Genting Malaysia.

“Beijing has banned Chinese tour groups from visiting South Korea [and] we think this change will benefit Resorts World Genting as the increase in tourists to Malaysia could be an incremental positive for visitation growth since Resorts World Genting is a major attraction among Chinese tourists,” read an statement from Affin Hwang Investment Bank analyst Ng Chi Hoong distributed by brokerage firm Daiwa Securities Group Incorporated.

Genting Malaysia is a subsidiary of Malaysian conglomerate Genting Berhad and is also responsible for casinos in the United States, the Bahamas and the United Kingdom while its sister Genting Singapore enterprise is responsible for the Resorts World Sentosa development in Singapore. The analysis from Affin Hwang Investment Bank also reportedly explained that the operator was a “rising star” but has been “fairly valued for now” despite the prospect of Resorts World Genting adding a further 650 hotel rooms along with the Hollywood-themed 20th Century Fox World family-friendly theme park by the end of the year.

“While the company’s prospects still look strong, we think any significant upside would only materialise in the second half of 2018 as the 20th Century Fox World theme park in Resorts World Genting should only be operational by the end of 2017,” read the analysis from Ng. “We estimate that this would increase Resorts World Genting’s total available rooms by 7%, which we think is crucial as it has close to a 93% occupancy rate. Despite these positive factors, we still think that the company’s target of 30 million visitations a year [by 2020] is overly optimistic.”

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