Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada is chairman for Universal Entertainment Corp and for its Philippines subsidiary Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, Inc which owns and will run the Okada Manila casino resort located in the Entertainment City in Parañaque. The Okada Manila resort project was formerly known as the Manila Bay Resorts.

Okada was in the Philippines this week to talk about a soft launch of the $4 billion Okada Manila project which is in the final stages of completion. The first phase of this project is expected to go live before November 2016 and once the 44 hectare integrated casino resort is completed, it will be the biggest development in the Entertainment City. Antonio O. Cojuangco, a business magnate in the Philippines and president of the All Seasons Hotel and Resort Corp, Okada’s local partner in the scheme,  spoke to local media, including BusinessWorld, part of the Philippine Star Group.

According to the BW report, Mr. Okada also met with Rodrigo R. Duterte, the President of the Philippines at the Malacañan Palace and expressed his interest of investing heavily into the Philippines to promote tourism within the country. Mr. Cojuangco expressed that Okada wants to get involved with projects outside the gaming industry and develop golf courses, new resorts and other tourism related projects during the next couple of years. One of the key projects that Okada would like to get involved with is building new international airports in the Philippines.

The Japanese tycoon wants to build new airports in Davao, Palawan as he believes that the opportunity to have first contact with foreign tourists visiting the Philippines is extremely important as it would allow Tiger Resorts to effectively market their properties in the Philippines and bring in more visitors.

In a statement, Steve Wolstenholme, the president of Tiger Resorts said “There would be opportunity to have connectivity so people when they come on business to Manila, they can also have connectivity to experience some of the natural wonders that are already quite spectacular.”

Cojuangco also stated that he had no ties to the gambling industry but the main reason he decided to partner with Okada was because he was getting into real estate development in the Philippines and the possibility of developing new airports in the country was exciting as tourists will keep coming back if they find great airports and entertainment facilities in the country.

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) in the Philippines could turn out to be Okada’s biggest competitor for the airport projects as the company had already proposed to invest $10 million under the previous government to build a new airport in Manila and replace the old Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The company has confirmed that they are still interested in developing a new airport in Manila and will check with the new government as to what kind of proposal they are interested in approving.

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