The Strip breaks ground for first Chinese-themed luxury resort

Updated: 2015-05-20 10:58

By Chang Jun(China Daily USA)

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The US gambling capital Las Vegas turns 110 this month, and the latest entry on the city's famed Strip will be the first Chinese-themed resort, which will seek to capitalize on the surge of millions of Chinese tourists to America.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held on May 6 for the $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas (RWLV) - the first full development on the Strip in nearly a decade, according to the Genting Group, its builder.

The first phase of the luxury hotel is expected to open in mid-2018 and add thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to the city's economy.

KT Lim, chairman and CEO of Genting Group, a global conglomerate specializing in international travel and leisure and owner of the Star Cruises, Crystal Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, joined Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Clark County Commissioners for the ceremony.

Lim said his company looks forward to being a part of Las Vegas' continued growth by creating a huge national and international draw with the world-class resort.

China is not only one of the world's most important trade partners with its exports, but also is spreading Chinese cuisine and culture to all corners of the world, the Genting Group said a statement.

"With rich cultural attractions, varied cuisine and jaw-dropping entertainment from China's many diverse regions and ethnic groups, Resorts World Las Vegas will provide an infinite variation of entertainment themes from the longest continuous civilization in the world. The Chinese theme will grow, deepen and broaden the Las Vegas tourism industry as a whole," according to the statement.

The 2.24 million Chinese travelers to the US last year is expected to reach 3.1 million by 2019, making China the third-largest source of overseas travelers to the country following Mexico and Canada, according to the US Commerce department.

Many of those travelers include Las Vegas as a must-see on their itineraries, with more than 300,000 visiting last year, according to the city's visitors bureau.

In 2006, the figure was merely about 87,000.

The relationship between Las Vegas and China has blossomed in the last decade as MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands have opened several casino-hotels in the Chinese special administrative region of Macau. Two years after Macau displaced Las Vegas as the world's biggest gambling market, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority in 2008 opened an office in Shanghai to compete with Macau for more Chinese tourists.

Las Vegas has used traditional Chinese customs and elements to resonate with Chinese travelers, especially for special occasions such as the Spring Festival. Throughout the two-week holiday, Las Vegas in recent years has put on lion dances and concerts, offered special meals and put up elaborate decorations that have made the city very Chinese. The "paint-the-town-red" extravaganza that falls around Chinese New Year is the second-biggest wagering event of the year in Las Vegas, only behind the Super Bowl.

The Strip breaks ground for first Chinese-themed luxury resort

Other resorts have sent private jets back and forth over the Pacific Ocean to ferry - big spending, big-betting customers and their families, said Anton Nilodemus, COO of MGM Resorts.

The new resort is predicted to create more than 13,000 direct and indirect jobs with its three hotels, multiple restaurants featuring a variety of authentic, regional Chinese cuisines, numerous retail shops and a top-tier nightlife venue. It also will generate tens of millions of dollars in construction-related activity and salaries.

The company says 3,000 hotel rooms, 3,500 table games and slot machines and a large gaming floor will be created in the first phase of the project. Additional plans include intricate gardens, a large aquarium, sky casino and an observation deck.

"Resorts World Las Vegas will truly help grow the Las Vegas market by attracting greater numbers of visitors, conventions and shows to our state. I am proud to welcome them as a bold new addition to the New Nevada economy," Governor Sandoval said at the ground breaking.

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