Japanese casino mogul Kazuo Okada wants to participate in the development of more tourism-friendly infrastructure projects in the Philippines, including a new international airport being planned for Manila.

According to a report from The Philippine Star newspaper, Okada is the man behind casino operator Tiger Resort Leisure And Entertainment and telephoned newly-elected Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte last week to offer his congratulations and convey his commitment to helping the new administration attract more tourists.

“Mr Okada specifically expressed his desire to bid for the international airport,” said Antonio Cojuangco, Okada’s Filipino business partner. “He believes the airport is your first contact. So your airport, if well designed and efficient; people will talk about that and more tourists will come together.”

Duterte was sworn in as the 16th President of the Philippines on June 30 while the newspaper reported that local businessmen Ramon Ang and Manuel Pangilinan are also known to be interested in joining the bidding process for the new airport.

“It was a time to congratulate the President and [Kazuo Okado] expressed support to the new administration,” said Cojuangco. “Mr Okada informed [President Duterte] we are doing our best to develop the tourism industry.”

Okada and Cojuango are partners in Okada Manila, the integrated casino resort that was previously known as Manila Bay Resort and granted a license in August of 2008. The $3 billion first phase of the 108.7-acre property is due to open in Manila’s Entertainment City gaming and entertainment district in November with the completed property expected to offer at least 3,000 slots alongside over 500 gaming tables.

Cojuangco is the former Chairman for the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company and stated that Okada Manila is moreover hoping to feature a world-class opera house.

“This will be in phase two [of the project],” said Cojuangco, who is a patron of the arts and Chairman for Ballet Philippines.

Cojuangco moreover declared that Okada Manila is in talks with Miss Universe Organization about the possibility of hosting an upcoming edition of the Miss Universe pageant.

“We are interested in [doing that] but there is still an existing contract,” said Cojuangco.

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