In the Philippines, Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited is reportedly pressing ahead with a plan to build a $500 million integrated casino resort on the small island of Boracay despite over-development and pollution concerns.
According to a Friday story from Philippines Lifestyle News citing a report from the Reuters news service, Boracay is widely considered to be one of the Philippines’ top tourist destinations due to its white sand beaches and flamboyant nightlife.
However, last month reportedly saw Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte describe the 2,550-acre island located some 196 miles south of Manila as a ‘cesspool’ while Roy Cimatu, the nation’s Environment and Natural Resources Secretary, more recently recommended closing the area for up to two months in order to upgrade its sewerage system and demolish the numerous illegal structures that have cropped up in its wetlands and forests.
Despite the prospect of such a closure, Hong Kong-listed Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited has nevertheless reportedly partnered with local firm Leisure and Resorts World Corporation to officially apply for a license for the planned Boracay development from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation regulator.
Alfredo Lim, President for the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, reportedly told Reuters that the Boracay development is set to ‘further improve our tourism sector’ and is intended to appeal to ‘foreigners, junket operators and high-rollers’. He also purportedly explained that the venue could open within three years of receiving approval before detailing that officials from Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited and its partner had met with Duterte on Wednesday in order to confer about the possible clean-up exercise.
“As you know, China’s relationship with the Philippines has been improving,” reportedly read a statement from Francis Lui, the billionaire Deputy Chairman for Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited. “K Wah Group and Galaxy [Entertainment Group Limited] would like to play a role in the One Belt One Road initiative and we strongly believe the Philippines has great potential and offers attractive opportunities.”
The Philippines Lifestyle News additionally reported that February saw local real estate developer DoubleDragon Properties Corporation apply for permission to construct a giant 1,001-room hotel on Boracay. The five-acre development is purportedly planned to offer luxury suites as well as restaurants, shops and meeting rooms while allaying environmental concerns through the use of rainwater harvesting and solar energy technologies.