Visitor limits loom over Londoner Macao debut

Sands China boss Wilfred Wong says new Cotai property’s interiors complete, but little point in going ahead if tourist numbers still restricted by red tape

SANDS CHINA is set to delay the opening of The Londoner Macao until limits on the number of visitors crossing into the city from China are eased, according to reports.

Wilfred Wong, Sands China president, said most of the Cotai Strip property’s interiors were complete, but a successful opening rested on the Macau’s Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) being resumed.

“Even though Guangdong province has removed mandatory quarantine on visitors returning from Macau from 15 July, the number of visitors only increased very slightly because IVS has not yet resumed,” Wong told GGR Asia on the sidelines of the Sands Shopping Carnival, and event aimed at boosting retail outlets.

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An opening next month had originally been scheduled for The Londoner Macao, a US$2.2 billion transformation of the Holiday Inn property on Sands Cotai Central, featuring British themes such as Changing of the Guard and a gastro pub from TV chef Gordon Ramsey.

“The hotel occupancy rate is still low. The Londoner Macao’s rooms and facilities will be ready in the third quarter, but it won’t help drive the company’s performance as visitor numbers remain at a very low level,” GGR quoted Wong as saying.

Digital art show set to wow in Macau

A new wave of Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong has also dealt a blow to the recovery of tourism and events in Macau with tighter entry restrictions placed on people travelling from the neighbouring special administrative region.

The Londoner Macao will feature a new 6,000-seat arena, street performers, a replica of the Big Ben clock tower, a VR experience along with a Dongbei and Sichuan cuisine restaurant, a Thai restaurant, a British-style Churchill’s Table restaurant and Ramsey’s gastro pub.

The façade, styled on the Houses of Parliament, is expected to be competed in 2021.

Main image: Artist impression of The Londoner Macao edifice

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