Chamber Far East Trip May Put Casino Giant On Agenda
By Scott Blake
The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce is headed for East Asia for the first time. And the Genting Group, the multinational tourism and gaming company that raised political fervor last year with plans to build a giant casino resort in Miami, could be on the agenda.
The chamber is planning to fly a local entourage on a four-day trip Oct. 13 to 17 to Singapore and possibly to Hong Kong, said Liane Ventura, the chamber’s senior vice president of international business development and leadership programs.
Genting has major operations in both Singapore and Hong Kong. Genting also is the chamber’s landlord since purchasing the Omni Center on Biscayne Boulevard last year as part of the casino resort plan.
Ms. Ventura said the chamber has not yet developed an itinerary for the trip, but said Genting may end up on the agenda.
"Genting could be part of it if they decide they want to," she said.
The purpose of the trip,
she said, is to help local businesspeople make connections in overseas markets that could help their businesses grow.
"The purpose is to explore business opportunities in Asia," she added.
The trip is open to chamber members and non-members for all-inclusive prices, which have not yet been set. Once prices are set, the chamber will accept reservations, she said. The chamber also is seeking sponsorships from businesses to help pay for the trip, she added.
The chamber — the Miami area’s largest business organization — typically makes several overseas trips a year, often focusing on Latin America and Europe, but this would be the chamber’s first foray into East Asia.
The chamber’s International Business Development Group has been considering offering a trip to Asia, Ms. Ventura said, and "now is the time to go" as talk has increased about opportunities for growing international trade with the Far East.
There is no strict limit on the number of people who can join the trip, she said, adding: "It could be 15 people. It could be 50." In addition, one or two chamber staff members will accompany the travelers and help coordinate the trip, she said.
Among other things, the chamber sets up appointments for the travelers to meet with business representatives in the overseas locations visited.
In Singapore, Genting operates Resorts World Sentosa, a massive casino resort with a Universal Studios theme park and marine life and water parks. The complex, which opened in 2010, is one of the world’s most expensive casino properties.
Hong Kong is headquarters for Genting Hong Kong, which owns half of Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line. The company also owns Star Cruises and partnered with Alliance Global Group to build Resorts World Manila, another large casino resort.
In Miami, Genting has invested roughly $500 million in property along Biscayne Bay, including the current site of the Miami Herald, which plans to move to Doral next year, and the nearby Omni Center, which includes the Hilton Miami Downtown, where the chamber’s headquarters is located.
Genting has planned to build Resorts World Miami at the site, but suffered an initial setback last winter when the Florida Legislature failed to approve a bill to permit large casino resorts in South Florida.
The chamber conditionally
supported the legislation.
If Genting becomes part of the chamber’s trip, it would not be the first time the company has hosted Miamians. Genting flew a group of local civic
leaders last summer to Resorts World Genting in Malaysia and Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore.
Jack Lowell, one of the local businesspeople on the four-day trip, described it as an effort by Genting to enlist the group’s support for its Miami proposal.
"They’re trying to build community support," Mr. Lowell said last year. "They’re trying to get a gaming license from the Legislature." To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e -Miami Today, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.