NagaWorld Operational Despite Travel Restrictions

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Cambodian casino resort complex NagaWorld remains “fully operational” despite a recent spike in Covid-19 infections in the country and upped travel restrictions to stem the pandemic, the chairman of the property’s promoter told GGRAsia. The Cambodian government has taken additional measures to curb the country’s latest outbreak of Covid-19, including imposing a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers entering the country, effective from Saturday (December 12).

“We remain open and fully operational,” stated Tim McNally (pictured), chairman of NagaCorp, in response to GGRAsia’s question on whether the property had been told to restrict its operations. Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp has a long-lasting casino monopoly in the area of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, where it runs the NagaWorld complex.

“Government policy regarding travel may change periodically due to the nature of the virus and we have adjusted very effectively during this period,” Mr McNally noted.

As of Sunday, Cambodia had recorded a total of 359 Covid-19 infection cases, of which 40 cases were linked to what local media reports referred as “November 28 community incident”. The November incident was reportedly Cambodia’s first cases of community transmission, with some of the cases identified in Phnom Penh.

According to the new rules, all travellers entering Cambodia are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine under local government supervision and be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival in the country. The local government has also temporarily halted a so-called “sponsorship” scheme that had previously allowed investors, businessmen or technicians to be guaranteed by a sponsoring company or organisation, so that they could undergo quarantine at a place of their own choice.

“Due to the global virus, our current activities rely heavily on the domestic market. Tourism and business travel, in Cambodia and the world, has diminished significantly since last March,” Mr McNally told GGRAsia.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism has reported that international tourist arrivals has fallen 76.1 percent year-on-year to nearly 1.27 million for the first 10 months of 2020, the Phnom Penh Post reported last week. Of that tally, Chinese tourists accounted for the biggest number at 314,291 visitors, a figure that nevertheless represented a nearly 85 percent year-on-year decline.

“We are pleased that our customer base in Cambodia remains strong and has allowed us to perform and succeed quite well despite the health and travel challenges,” the NagaCorp chairman added.

In October, NagaCorp said in a filing that it had seen a “relatively good recovery and sustenance” of average daily gaming business volumes during August and September, following the re-opening of gaming facilities in July. The company stated at the time that the recovery of its VIP gaming business volume had been helped by a “sizeable number of expatriates” living and working in Cambodia.

In his remarks to GGRAsia, Mr McNally said the company was optimistic about 2021. “The good news is that with vaccinations [against Covid-19] being initiated around the world, we are very optimistic that 2021 will be a new situation and a very good year lies ahead,” he said.

“We are optimistic that business visitation and tourism will return during the first half of next year. This will bring about good news for Naga[World] as well as to others in the region,” he added.

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