Economists Not Very Optimistic Of Singapore’s Integrated Resorts Massive Expansion

Singapore River
A tourist boat cruises next to the banks of Singapore River, whose waters flow into the Marina Reservoir, in downtown Singapore March 19, 2019. Picture taken March 19, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lam)

Singapore is looking to expand its integrated resorts - MBS and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) - but some economists are not expecting that the expansion will have a very significant effect on the country's tourism.

According to The Edge Singapore, some economy experts pointed out that the IR 2.0 scheme may not be a huge hit among tourists because there have been reports that the integrated resorts in Singapore are not as attractive as they once were.

The two integrated resorts are currently undergoing expansion under a $9 billion plan that the city-state initiated as part of its efforts in reviving Singapore's economic prowess in tourism. However, gaming revenues at the resorts' casinos suggested stagnant growth over the past few years.

Aside from revenue going flat, other competing properties seem to have allowed the two resorts to lose their value among tourists and casino goers. Furthermore, industry analysts have previously predicted that tourism will somehow decline this year.

Some economic experts pointed out that Singapore may need more than its integrated resorts expansion to drive economic growth to expected levels. The global economic slowdown is expected to play an integral role in potentially blocking Singapore's plan to move forward over its neighboring countries.

"Many other countries are stepping up their airport infrastructure and tourist attractions. Japan is currently requesting bids and proposals for three IRs across different cities. The Philippines and Macau are still building more casinos to cater to the high-end VIP market," senior economist at Maybank Kim Eng Research, Chua Hak Bin, said of the competition.

Despite bearish outlooks on Singapore's plans to expand its integrated resorts, other economic experts are looking forward to positive effects that the massive expansion plan will bring to the local economy.

The Motley Fool Singapore predicted that Straco Corporation could be a huge winner in the integrated resorts expansion scheme. The outlet noted that Straco's Flyer could further increase revenue once the expansion is completed and is able to cater to more tourists and riders.

Aside from Straco, the outlet mentioned SATS (Singapore Airport Terminal Services) as another company that could benefit greatly from the IR 2.0 plan. Since food is always a part of a tourist's itinerary, analysts are expecting massive growth for the food catering provider.

Finally, Kingsmen Creatives is expected to build gain on MBS' announcement of expanding its fourth tower. The communication design and production firm could leverage on the potential of building theme parks and exhibitions on the resort's fourth tower.

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