WIDUS Resort and Casino, located in Pampanga, is undergoing major expansion to tap the newfound potential in increased Middle East flights and MICE opportunities within the area.
The 119-key property will see another 114 rooms come on stream through the addition of a second tower in October, while lobby expansion will start in 1Q2014.
Upgrading works to the casino, starting 4Q2014, will equip it with a 500-pax ballroom and three new F&B outlets, including a steakhouse.
The hotel will also get three more food outlets, says Alfred Reyes, general manager, Widus Resort and Casino.
The property’s convention centre, completed in early 2013, currently offers two major halls of 455m2 and 189m2, respectively. It will be improved to add another 2,000m2 of space through the addition of a 75-pax plenary room and five 50-pax breakout rooms.
Widus is also in negotiations to acquire an additional 1.5 hectares for a water park adjacent to the property, while a third hotel tower with 300 rooms is planned for 2017-2018.
Reyes said the outlook for the property appeared bullish with new flights due to start. Emirates is launching a Dubai-Clark service on October 1, Qatar Airways is starting Doha-Clark flights on October 27, and Etihad Airways is rumoured to be readying an Abu Dhabi-Clark link for the near future.
“We’re also looking at MICE business from the local and Asian market. We expect 50 per cent of our business to come from Clark Freeport Zone, which has over five hundred business locators,” Reyes noted.
Widus wants to tap the opportunities presented by Clark's yearly Philippine Balloon Festival, the Philippine MICE Convention in 2Q2014 that Clark is hosting, as well as the multi-venue Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit 2015. It is also experimenting with staging concert acts.
Reyes said that while South Korea and US guests, and the corporate market would continue accounting for most of Widus’ hotel business, he hoped to diversify into the Japan market and the medical tourism market, with the world-class, Joint Chiefs International-accredited 150-bed Medical City hospital being built at Clark’s Global Gateway Logistics City in the next few years.