Malaysian casino and leisure group Genting said on Wednesday air attacks on the United States had not scared off its millions of customers as most came from within southeast Asia.
“We have not noticed any drop and are still very busy,” Assistant Vice President Chow Wei Heng told reporters.
Last week, hijackers forced commercial aircraft to crash into buildings in New York and Washington, sparking investor fears that global travel and tourism industries would suffer.
The Genting group, controlled by rags-to-riches tycoon Lim Goh Tong, operates Malaysia’s sole casino in a sprawling hotel and leisure complex located atop a steep, jungle-clad hill in central Pahang state and also has cruise ship investments.
Chow said seven million people visited the Genting hill resort during the first six months of 2001 and added the group expects a similar number in the second half.
“Our (casino and resort) customer base is well diversified,” he added. “We don’t just depend on foreign arrivals but locals and Singaporeans actually form the majority.”
Chow declined to answer questions about what effect there may have been on Genting’s international cruise operations, a huge loss maker for the group last year.
Analysts who track the group, however, say a drop in cruise sales of between five to 10 percent was likely, though they added it was premature to forecast the impact on group profits.
Genting shares and those of subsidiary Resorts World
Plunged 22 and 29 percent respectively, exceeding the market’s 12-percent decline, after the U.S. attacks.
Its 24-hour gaming operations are popular with locals, tourists and high-rollers from across the region especially neighbouring Singapore and Indonesia — drawing more than 12 million visitors each year.
Last year, the group made some 1.5 billion ringgit ($395 million) of exceptional losses after an investment in the Lim family-owned Star Cruises <0678.HK>.
Resorts holds around 36 percent of Star Cruises, which in turn owns almost all of Norwegian cruise operator NCL Holdings.
Star Cruises plies mainly Asian routes covering southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Japan while NCL covers North American routes. More about best online casino singapore
Genting shares were up 30 cents at 9.30 ringgit by 0640 GMT, Resorts World’s gained 35 cents to 5.75 ringgit while the dually-listed Star was down 1.5 Singapore cents to 33.5 on the island state’s bourse.
Genting’s interim net profit was 145.7 million ringgit while Resorts made 134.3 million on higher casino and hotel revenues.
He said the group had not increased security after the attacks but promised to spend more money improving the safety of transportation to the casino resort.
Next month, the group will shut its 3.4 km (2.1 mile) cable car for a month for an upgrade. Some six million people use the cable car each year.
“But it won’t affect arrivals either because we have an alternative bus plan,” Chow said.