Vietnam developer eyes ambitious casino and aviation project

Ho Chi Minh-listed real estate developer FLC Group is expanding its business in the casino industry as it tries to ride on Vietnam’s growing number of tourists.

Nikkei Asian Review reported that FLC is diversifying its business to casinos and aviation after years of focusing on developing tourists resort in untapped areas.

FLC chairman Trinh Van Quyet was in Tokyo to entice Japanese businessmen to invest in what analysts described to be an ambitious expansion plan.

During his sales pitch, Trinh told Japanese investors that it plans to develop a casino resort in Quang Ninh Province in northern Vietnam, where the tourist-magnet Ha Long Bay World Heritage site is found. He said that the firm has already purchased a site for the project.

“Thanks to its long coast line, Vietnam’s tourism industry has huge potential,” Trinh stressed.

Quyet said their recently established airline unit Bamboo Airways will complement its planned integrated resort since it will bring local and foreign tourists in and out of the area.

“We want to have direct flights from overseas to areas where we have resort facilities,” Trinh said, according to the report. The new airline is slated to begin operations in 2022 and the unit has already held talks with Airbus and Boeing over aircraft.

Data from the World Tourism & Travel Council showed that the tourism industry will continue to fuel Vietnam’s gross domestic product as it is expected to grow nearly 90% to $34.6 billion in 2027.

At present, Vietnam remains to be one of Southeast Asia’s prime tourist destination. According to government statistics, the number of tourist in Vietnam rose by 30 percent to 8.47 million in the first eight months of the year.

Rising incomes of Vietnamese will also bode well for integrated resorts in the Southeast Asian country.

Analysts, however, cautioned businessmen of immediately making a bet on FLC’s grand casino and aviation plan.

They also noted that FLC, like other Vietnamese companies, remains a newbie in terms of managing a multisector group.

Bach An Vien, Head of Market Strategy and Finance at KIS Vietnam Securities, has expressed concerns on how the Vietnamese company plans to fund its project.

“The expansion plan of FLC is rather ambitious because casino and aviation are relatively new fields for Vietnamese enterprises,” he said. “They require large initial capital investment as well as experience of running new projects.”



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