Interview: Genting chairman on Resorts World Miami

KT Lim talks about the destination resort casino's future in S. Fla.

By Christina Vazquez - Reporter

SINGAPORE - Genting's Chairman K.T. Lim sat down with Local 10's Christina Vazquez to talk about why the company wants to develop a destination casino resort in Miami. Below is a transcription of some of his responses:


"We are not trying to recreate Las Vegas here." 

"I feel like we would have succeeded only if I see a Singapore sort of transplanted in that part of Miami, which is really logically should be the heart of a real city. So a lot of that has still has yet to be built, and that is what I hope Genting can achieve to being the stimulus to bring in the other businesses that would create that part of Miami to be the city to give a city type of experience." 

"Variety is the spice of life. People are not going to come back again and again for the same experience. So we need to make sure that we benefit the rest of the community, not suck the life out of them at their expense. Everybody has a role to play, not just the new destination resort." 

"We would like to bring our experience in Asia, especially in terms of developing destination resorts, which we have done for the last 50 years."

"I see a very similar comparison between Singapore and Miami. Both are at the crossroads, and both have the opportunity of being a major city type of economy. In Miami, I think you can be more diverse than Singapore. As you know, Singapore is a city-state, whereas the whole of Florida is much, much bigger than Singapore, so you can have a spread of the leisure and hospitality in the whole of the state." 

"I see this great opportunity to use these destination resorts right here in Miami, and in our case downtown Miami, to bring to bear what the destination resort would create in terms of creating a city-like type of economy for southern Florida." 

"So it's not just the destination resort but the whole of the downtown area, and Miami should be rejuvenated, in which case if we succeed in doing that it is the creation of tens of thousands of jobs."

 "It's not just the destination resort which would employ thousands and thousands of people, but if we succeed to create the same city-state economy for the city of Miami, then you are talking about enjoying the whole of the Singapore GDP in just the city itself while the rest of Florida would grow in its own natural way." 

"Diversity I think is important here."

 "I've come here the last 40 years since I was a young student studying in London and I've grown, I've found Miami really to be a lot like Singapore, weather-wise and it being really quite the center spot." 

"So then I find out it is a hub for South America." 

"So we are not talking about substituting or eating someone else's lunch here. We are talking about creating a new product that would bring in other investments, other visitors, not just to tourists, because if you are able to develop this city-economy model, it would spill over into the financial district, the retail, the hotels, maybe even medical." 

"What I am trying to say is that one needs to look at the surrounding environment and try to make the best of what is already there. Miami has a lot of those factors that I am so excited about that could bring real tangible benefits to this community." 

"South America is a major, major sort of market for Miami, it's only natural, but that doesn't mean that we can't develop it to also be a connecting point from Asia or, for that matter, even from Europe -- which are already coming, but it could be more." 

"So really Miami could be a Singapore in that we could develop enough demand, so instead of just being a city type of economy, it could equal that of a national economy. Here, you have that power to develop to a near-national economy rather than just a very local type of economy." 

"The casino is just a means to the end, just a small part of the amenity. The way I look at it, we need to integrate it to the fabric that is here, be it the cruise industry, retail and fashion district. It is the whole city that one company alone could not create nor replicate because then really it is quite artificial. So we will build something to be the catalyst, but we don't want to be everything, so we want to make it attractive enough to bring people here so they can then enjoy the rest of the facilities that are here, which means it should stimulate other investments to come in. If we don't succeed in doing that, we would have failed." 

"It is not just one destination resort we are talking about. It is how we need to plan it such that it will help the rest grow." 

"We would have the spas, the retail, and the rooms and the city type of living in terms of the condominiums and so on, but we can't take over to be the whole of the city. So we will try to show the best of what Miami can offer and hopefully the flow-over will happen." 

"If we can connect the dots between Asia and Miami, then the Chinese will get to enjoy golf, learn how to play golf. We need to be the catalyst to bring new people here to enjoy not just the destination resort but the rest of what is here in Miami and ultimately also the state of Florida." 

"I'm really not that new to Florida. We keep it low-profile but we are invested in Norwegian Cruise Line. Ten years ago,I was the one who was responsible to buy Norwegian Cruise Line. We turned Norwegian Cruise line upside-down. We ordered new ships to be designed like a land resort, and I think that has worked. I would like to think that is through a better understanding of what the market needs and not just copying or doing the same thing as other players are doing in the industry." 

"In one way, it's like we went full circle. We brought what we had been doing on land to the ships where you can dine wherever you want, at whatever time you want, eat whatever you want and do whatever you want. One of the tag lines was you could also do nothing. That's how I see the vacation experience should be, not so regimented. But of course there are people who would like that. Then let other players in the business take care of that. We need to grow the pie, right. That's the philosophy of the Genting Group." 

"I think together we can grow the pie, and the important thing is to be creative and create products and an experience that the consumer would enjoy. Once they enjoy, and if there is value for money, they will come back. That in itself will add on to the economy. Surely that's how the whole state will end of benefitting." 

"It's a family approach. Resorts World Singapore, it's really a family where the family can feel comfortable, and it's the same sort of model we brought to Norwegian Cruise Line. We want the whole family to enjoy themselves. We do attract a lot of families to our resort in Singapore." 

"The  family can stay a couple of days and really enjoy themselves, and hopefully that is what will bring them back to Singapore to enjoy the rest of Singapore, and I don't see anything different here in Miami. I only wish I could get more land. I don't see it as competing with South Beach. We need to be part of a larger attraction to complete the experience and for people to want to come back. We can't be a stand-alone."

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