Ho Tram is ready to roll the dice in Vietnam

June 24, 2013 | 14:43
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Ho Tram Project Company Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Asian Coast Development Limited and also the investor of the $4.2 billion Ho Tram Strip project in Vietnam, plans to open its first resort next month.

Colin Pine, general director of the company, talked to VIR’s Linh Mai about how the firm intends to run the resort after MGM Resorts International withdrew from a management contract.

The resort will open on July 26, does this mean you have finished the preparations and procedures for the resort’s launch?

In actual fact, our plan is to officially open the resort for receiving guests in July, but July 26 does not represent our grand opening ceremony.

We plan to have an official grand opening ceremony towards the end of this year to ensure that we can coordinate the logistics such as performers’ schedules to guarantee that this will be the truly impressive event we are envisioning. However, we are ready to receive guests now and will be officially welcoming them from July 26.

How about the bookings. Where are your guests from?

While I do not have the exact number at hand at the moment, we already booked over 1,000 nights starting in August. We recognide that more and more people are interested in our resort, and many travel companies have come to us and discussed cooperation programmes. Right now, our sales and marketing team are in China and their next stop is Russia. We see Russia as a potential market because Russian tourists are increasingly travelling to Vietnam. In addition to this, we also focus on foreigners and overseas Vietnamese living in Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau. In particular, they are potential guests for our casino facility. As you know, our casino facility will only be open to guests with a foreign passport.

In 2008, MGM Resorts International signed a contract to manage the first resort at Ho Tram Strip under the brand of MGM Grand Ho Tram, but in March 2013 it withdrew from the contract. How will this withdrawal affect the operation of the resort?

First, it is important to note that MGM Resorts International was not an investor in the Ho Tram Strip Project, but rather the management company. We hired MGM Resorts International to be the manager of the first resort, and it could be asked what did they do in this capacity? First, they provided pre-opening services such as recruiting executives and  staff and training them. Furthermore, MGM assisted in creating internal regulations, policies, sales and marketing programmes and identifying potential markets. All of those services, MGM Resorts International completed. We thank MGM for its assistance in the hiring and training of our nearly 2,000-strong team of Vietnamese hospitality professionals.

The withdrawal of MGM will of course have some impacts, but we are confident it will be minimal because all of the executives and staff trained by MGM remain with us in operating the resort. With MGM leaving, we are not able to use their brand for the first resort. However, we have already introduced our own brand: The Grand. We think extraordinary resort properties should be identified by a name and brand that reflect their quality, stature and uniqueness. We discussed this brand with MGM and  they have no objections to our newly announced brand. Also, we hired a third party consultancy firm to assess what impact there may be from MGM's withdrawal from managing our first resort and they showed that we would achieve better results after two years from the opening.

By By Linh Mai

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