Image problem seen hindering growth

The Philippines needs to improve its international image to boost tourism numbers and inbound investment, allowing it to achieve its full potential, local operators say. Gross gaming revenue reached P149.1 billion ($2.9 billion) last year, with that number expected to rise to between P155 billion and P160 billion in 2017. Revenue is being driven by the opening of new resorts and increasing revenue from online gaming licenses. However, the country is finding it hard to overcome a long-standing impression that there are security issues, which have been exacerbated by global media headlines over President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on drug dealers. “Whether in Entertainment City, or regional cities, or casinos, the main thing we have to concentrate on is changing the perception of the Philippines because that’s one thing that is stifling the tourism industry,” said David Lawrence, vice president of gaming operations at Widus Hotel and Casino, which is located in the...

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