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The Londoner Macao opening to be postponed: Dr Wilfred Wong

Sands China will postpone the opening of The Londoner Macao until the number of visitors crossing the border into Macau increases, even though the majority of internal renovations on the property are already complete, according to Sands China President Dr Wilfred Wong.

Speaking at the opening of the three-day Sands Shopping Carnival at Cotai Expo on Friday, Dr Wong said the soft opening of The Londoner Macao – Sands China’s US$2.2 billion transformation of Sands Cotai Central – would instead be determined by the resumption of the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) after the company reported a loss of US$549 million for the three months to 30 June 2020.

Dr Wong had previously suggested The Londoner Macao would be ready to open by September.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Sands Shopping Carnival is one of several promotions launched by Sands China across its properties in recent months incorporating everything from hotel, dining and retail offers, but Dr Wong admitted such promotions – many of them aimed at attracting locals – can only provide a minimal boost. The Sands Shopping Carnival was largely aimed at helping local SMEs and Sands retailers by offering them free booths to promote their products and services.

Dr Wong noted that the new wave of COVID-19 in Hong Kong has delayed the recovery of the tourism and hospitality industries in Macau due to the need to tighten entry restrictions on people arriving from Hong Kong.

He also said that Sands China has not yet discussed the arrangement of any annual discretionary bonus for its employees, with such a decision dependent upon the company’s performance as well as the local economy and general level of consumption in society.

As previously revealed by Sands China, when complete The Londoner Macao will feature a new 6,000-seat arena, rebranded Shoppes at The Londoner retail mall, street shows, a VR experience plus a new Dongbei and Sichuan cuisine restaurant, a Thai restaurant, a British styled restaurant named Churchill’s Table and a gastropub by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

The project will also broaden the current MICE capabilities and intends to bring West End shows to its theater. A Piccadilly Circus Eros statue, double-decker buses, pubs, telephone booths, British pop culture, the Changing of the Guards and many of the icons that make London famous will all be part of The Londoner Macao.

The external transformation of The Londoner Macao, due for completion in 2021, will see the property’s main façade recreate the architecture of the Houses of Parliament, including a replica of the Big Ben clock.

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