Director Kowie Geldenhuys

  Macau Strategic Services Recruitment
Macau Translations
Home arrow Macau arrow Sands ‘misunderstood’ in Macau: president
Sands ‘misunderstood’ in Macau: president PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 August 2008

by Nigel Huxtable

The operator of the world's largest casino believes it is misunderstood by Macau locals and intends to improve their lot rather than dominate their home town.
The aspirations of Las Vegas Sands in Macau have not been appreciated by locals frustrated with the disruption to daily life caused by the development and some believing the operator has a hidden agenda to “dominate” the world's new gambling hub, the president and chief operating officer said yesterday.
In an impassioned 27 minute speech on the on the eve of the first anniversary of the Venetian Macao, William Weidner said it was necessary that Sands again spell out the advantages it is bringing to the city.
“Sometimes, as the largest investor in Macau's future I think there has been some misunderstanding about [our policies in Macau and their effect on the people],” he said.
“As guests in Macau our responsibility is to take the force of that investment and transform it into value for the city of Macau.”
Rather than increased inconvenience caused by the growing popularity of the city as a tourist destination and a growing importe labour pool, mr weidner said the investment would build a future for macau.
he said that while sands was here to “make a buck”, its plans would transform Macau and provide career paths for residents to “improve” their lives.
The speech at the presentation of the model for a new education centre at the Venetian Macao follows a year that has seen growing resentment by locals over the number of foreign workers moving to the city. The government has responded by asking all concession holders to increase the number of residents holding middle and upper management positions.
Last week each concession holder was asked to submit a plan to achieve this level.
Currently Sands employs more than 20,000 workers at its Venetian Macao property, Four Seasons Hotel, which opens today, and in the construction of the 10 additional hotels it plans to build before 2011.
Approximately 30 percent of workers are importe, according to senior vice president human resources in asia of subsidiary venetian macau limited, daniel shim. however it is unclear if this includes construction workers which are mainly imported on short term visas.
according to labour affairs bureau data, sands employed 14,494 non-resident workers against 13,871 locals in march. the figure for imported labour rose to 15,950 in june, the jornal tribuna de macau reported earlier in the week.

90 percent local gaming managers target
the ratio inside the company's gaming operation shows a higher reliance on local labour. Some 92 percent of employees are residents and 80 percent of gaming management positions are held by locals. However locals also includes high-skilled importe labour, many of whom can receive temporary resident status. under an agreement with the government, gaming operators are also forced to employ locals as dealers.
the company aims to increase the number of locally filled gaming management positions to 90 percent by 2009 as part of its plan submitted to the government last week, said mr shim.

pain short term
the current pain being felt by those trying to live in the world's largest gambling market is largely short term and will pay off in the long run, Mr Weidner tried to articulate yesterday.
While he admitted longer lines at the border, higher prices and congested streets are an annoyance, he stressed critics should look at the benefits the company will bring.
While Sands is busy broadening the economic base of Macau by building an exhibition and trade show sector and growing the hospitality industry, the bottom line for locals is more and better job opportunities, said Mr Weidner.
“We are showing Macau citizens the way to improve their quality of life [by providing] opportunities for them to earn an income and create a career,” he said.
The returns are already being seen, the president continued.
Locals are already starting to climb the company's career ladder with 2,800 citizens now supervising the gaming floor at the Venetian, compared with 413 one year ago, said Mr Weidner.

Hard headed
The president continued that criticism it has received from locals that it has a “hidden agenda” and that it seeks to “dominate” the city is due to the determination it must show to pull off a project of the intended scale.
“If we're going to get someone to get out of their bed in the morning in Bangkok, Manilla and other cities and say this weekend I'm going to Macau, we've got to have big stuff and interesting stuff …”
Following his speech he said that the growing concerns of locals hadn't impeded the company's plans in Macau due to his staff's “hard headed” approach.

Adelson's school
Part of the plan to provide local jobs is to give ground level education in non-gaming areas such as the meetings and incentives business, conventions and exhibitions, hospitality, entertainment management and retail at the Venetian Macao resort.
The company hopes to open the 100 million pataca Adelson Advanced Education Center next year which will be managed by the University of Macau (UM).
The UM plans to offer a hospitality management undergraduate degree at the centre next year followed by a post graduate degree along the lines of an MBA and short courses in business management, said rector Iu Vai Pan.
The 15,446 square foot facility will be located on level five of the Venetian Macau and will include a 100 seat lecture hall and six classrooms and will be able to accommodate 326 students.

[email protected] : : [email protected]

c 2007 Macau Daily Times : : Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.