Sands China has literally reached new heights with the April 11 opening of Sands Cotai Central on Macao’s Cotai Strip.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Sands China Ltd. Chairman Sheldon Adelson described the opening of Sands Cotai Central – comprising Conrad, Sheraton and Holiday Inn hotels, and Shoppes Cotai Central – as “a historic moment”, representing yet another stage in Sands China’s ambitions to turn the Cotai Strip Macao into Asia’s premier business and leisure destination.
At the opening ceremony, Mr Adelson spoke enthusiastically of the project as thousands of assembled media representatives, VIPs, Sands executives and eager visitors gathered to get their first glimpse of the three-tower integrated resort city.
“The Cotai Strip is the largest tourism project on the planet. And it all began with a vision that started with a reclaimed area of sand and mud and has arrived to where we are now – one giant step closer to establishing Macao as one of the world’s top leisure, entertainment and business destinations. People said it couldn’t be done; but we have shown that nothing is impossible.”
As if to underline the fact that this was no ordinary achievement and no run-of-the mill opening, 500 feet overhead, sky walkers were carefully crossing the 1,700-foot distance across the Cotai Strip between Sands Cotai Central and its sister property The Venetian® Macao, while balancing on a wire less than one-inch thick.
After several hundred years of Portuguese rule, Macao returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1999 as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, beginning a period of unprecedented growth and transformation fuelled by an explosive expansion of the leisure, gaming and conventions tourism sectors. In 2011 alone, Macao registered blisteringly hot GDP growth of almost 21%.
The performance at the opening ceremony of the China National Symphony Orchestra Choir, the presence of senior Chinese government officials, as well as guest of honour Dr. Chui Sai On, Chief Executive of Macao SAR, all highlighted Sands China’s long-term commitment to Macao’s future.
But Macao’s ancient Chinese heritage was not forgotten and various parts of the ceremony integrated traditional Chinese customs designed to promote good fortune and prosperity.
Early in the day in the resort’s Paradise Gardens – a 12,000-square-foot, 50-foot-tall indoor area of lush gardens, cascading waters and natural light – a 16-foot-tall, 5,500-pound bronze and gold God of Fortune statue was unveiled.
Designed and created by Professor Sun Jiabin, one of China’s top sculptors, the God of Fortune naturally faces the resort’s Himalaya casino.
Lion dancers, a coin ceremony and the creation of a traditional Chinese knot symbolised the coming together of all the components of the Sands Cotai Central alliance.
Sands Cotai Central joins three existing Sands China properties in Macao: The Venetian Macao and The Plaza Macao (which boasts a Four Seasons Hotel) both on the Cotai Strip, and the Sands Macao, the international pioneer in Macao’s gaming sector which opened in 2004 and is located on Macao’s peninsula.
If the breathtaking opening is any indication, Sands Cotai Central looks certain to take Sands China’s success to even higher levels.