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Dynamically growing Ho Tram Strip in the grand plan for Vietnam's economic development

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In your speech at the launching event of Kahuna you called HTP “The company that first brought Vegas to Vietnam.” Does this mean that the Ho Tram Strip is going to be of a much larger scale than an integrated resort? What are you planning for the development?

Absolutely, we are an integrated resort located on approximately 164 hectares, with 2.2 kilometers of pristine beachfront. The Grand - a 541 room five-star luxury resort with 11 eleven food and beverage outlets, convention facilities, and numerous entertainment facilities, is the most awarded resort in Vietnam. It was recently named the Number One Luxury Hotel in Vietnam—and it is now expanding.

The Beach Club, now under construction, is a 559-room hotel which will be connected to The Grand and will contain numerous entertainment amenities, including a 2,000-person amphitheater and a waterpark. The Beach Club is rising quickly.

When completed, the Grand will have a total of 1,100 rooms, making it one of the largest hotels in Vietnam. The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, our Greg Norman-designed course, is the most acclaimed golf course in Vietnam and is ranked number 74 th in the world.

We are also currently developing the Gallery Villas at The Bluffs, a luxury residential complex. Currently numerous villas are under construction. And if that was not enough, on June 15, we launched Kahuna. Located on the beachfront, Kahuna is a condotel offering both condominiums and villas.

We are also currently seeking approval to develop a private airport to increase access to both our resort and the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. The Ho Tram Strip project will ultimately encompass several more hotels, an additional integrated resort, and unique entertainment attractions, making Ho Tram Strip a must-visit destination in Southern Vietnam, appealing both to local and international tourists alike.

At Grand Ho Tram Strip, pricing for condominiums begins from $88,800. On what basis are you offering this price?

We wanted to make Ho Tram Strip affordable to Vietnam’s rising middle class. A lot of developments in Ho Tram and all along the Vietnamese coastline focus on the premium end of the market. We wanted to open up Ho Tram Strip to more people and our pricing at Kahuna beginning at $88,000 reflects that. It is offering an investment opportunity with guaranteed returns, as well as a second home and special getaway to families in Vietnam. It is an opportunity to enjoy your own piece of a beachfront.

Recently there seems to be a boom in the supply of vacation real estate. Is there a bubble waiting to burst?

There is both an increase in supply and an increase in demand. As long as the demand is there, there is no bubble to burst. Also, our Kahuna is unlike any other product on the market in Vietnam. Where else but at Ho Tram Strip can you find the Number One Luxury Hotel in Vietnam, a golf course ranked within the top 100 in the world, numerous restaurants, and unique entertainment options that also include a world-class casino. And the best part of all, The Grand and The Bluffs are already built and operating.

In May, the Ministry of Finance was given the authority to grant business licences for casino and gaming services, concretising the earlier issued Decree No. 03/2017/ND-CP on casino business. According to this decree, eligible investors wishing to invest and operate in services, tourism, and entertainment businesses with casinos must invest a minimum capital of $2 billion and submit plans to manage the negative impacts of casino operations. Such enterprises can operate a casino in a single location and this must be separate from other entertainment business areas. Does Grand Ho Tram Strip meet these requirements? Have you taken any steps to get the licence?

We already operate a foreigners-only casino and previously served as the official pilot location for foreigners-only gaming. Our casino was built to international standards and meets all the requirements of the decree to continue offering foreigners-only gaming. The decree which became law in March 2017 also legalises gambling for locals. Accordingly, as the only integrated resort operating today, we have recently filed our application with the appropriate government authorities to be an authorised pilot for locals’ gaming as well.

HTP has thus far deployed and committed over $1.1 billion of the total $4 billion investment it intends to put into the Ho Tram Strip project. What is the schedule for the disbursement of the remaining investment?

The company has numerous construction projects going now, including The Beach Club, The Gallery Villas, and Kahuna. We are one of the largest employers in the province and expect to further expand our workforce in the near future as these additional developments come online. We have also submitted development plans to the provincial authorities to further build out the Ho Tram Strip project and we are fully committed to doing so over the next few years.

With respect to our investment certificate, we currently exceed the chartered capital specified therein and are aggressively developing Ho Tram Strip which we believe will be a catalyst to further economic development in the province. As the largest foreign invested tourism project in Vietnam, we are fully committed to assisting the prime minister in achieving his stated goal of increasing tourism to 10 per cent of the GDP.

By Hong Anh

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