Opening of resorts in Singapore In recent years, however, more countries in the region are scrambling to develop casinos to attract tourists. Winston Koh, economics professor at the Singapore Management University, projects that Singapore's two casino resorts are likely to boost the overall gross domestic product by about 1 to 2 percent when they are fully operational. ''Certainly it will put Singapore on the world map. The development of IR is part of the overall plan to make Singapore a world-class city,'' Koh said, adding that Singapore has to continue to reinvent itself so as to remain relevant. In this connection the resorts are a ''complementary development'' to the country's overall goal of higher value economic activities involving innovation and cutting- edge financial services. ''The direct effect is probably not significant, only a couple of percent. But we cannot underestimate the fact that once we have the resorts operating, it will make Singapore a more attractive place, it will definitely boost the tourist numbers. In the long term the effect on tourism should be quite substantial.'' Mukul Asher, an economist at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, believes the casino resorts are not likely to have any big impact on the economy. ''The main expenditures on this project are the real estate and the construction. That is more or less already passed. Profit-wise, there will be a lot of competition in this area,'' he said, pointing out that other countries in the region are also building casinos. Manu Bhaskaran, a partner in the Centennial Group, said that as the two resorts will be opened in stages, the full impact will only be felt toward the end of this year. ''It really creates some kind of buzz to Singapore and makes it a more exciting and interesting place. Clearly it's going to be very positive for tourism and will have a spillover effect on hotels, airports, travel, transport, retail, restaurants,'' he said.
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