Fri, Oct 19, 2012 - Page 3 News List

New opportunity for Penghu casino

BONUS:The contractor currently in the running to develop a resort on the island, Huafu Group, pledged to provide jobs and special offers for island residents

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Penghu County residents may have turned down an opportunity three years ago to be the first county to host a casino, but that window of opportunity could be reopened with the establishment of a new hotel resort in the county’s Siyu Township (西嶼).

The township, which is on the west side of Penghu’s main island, has two islands, Yuwong Island (漁翁島) and Siaomen Islet (小門嶼).

The Penghu National Scenic Area Administration confirmed yesterday it would outsource the development of Siyu’s Yuwong Island Hotel Resort under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) and renovate-operate-transfer (ROT) business model to Huafu Group, the only firm to bid.

The announcement came after the three-year restriction on proposing a casino referendum in Penghu County expired last month.

Some have speculated that the group is eyeing the possibility of resurrecting the proposal for a casino referendum following the positive outcome of a referendum on Matsu last year, and that as result a casino could be built within the grounds of the hotel resort in accordance with the current regulations.

However, the administration has denied that the group has plans to do so.

“In the presentation, the group mentioned that it would work with Far Eastern Air Transport Corp (FAT),” said Tsai Chi-hsien (蔡淇賢), the administration’s secretary.

“The airline plans to introduce charter flight services from Penghu to Xiamen, Quanzhou and Hong Kong.

The group will work with the airline to offer package tours that cover both the flight and hotel accommodation, Tsai said.

Huafu Group is owned by Chang Kang-wei (張綱維), who also serves as the chairman of FAT.

Tsai said that the group also plans to buy boats to allow travelers to tour between Magong (馬公) and Siyu.

It did not mention anything about building a casino.

Tsai said the group plans to invest NT$650 million in the project, which would include building a four-star hotel resort with 232 rooms and renovating the Yuwongdao Tourist Center.

The contract between the group and Penghu National Scenic Area Administration gives the former the right to develop and operate the hotel resort for 50 years.

Renovations at the Yuwongdao Tourist Center are scheduled to be completed within 18 months of the contract being signed.

Aside from providing jobs and giving special offers to local residents, the group also promised a royalty of NT$1 million for the development.

Once the hotel resort becomes operational, the administration is to receive an additional royalty of about NT$181 million during the contract period.

The hotel resort is scheduled to become operational in December 2015.

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