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Business

New casino gives slumping Macau a Parisian injection

MACAU -- A casino operator in Macau is hoping a re-creation of a Parisian streetscape will bring tourists back to the world's largest gambling market.

The Parisian Macao's Eiffel Tower is a shorter but fairly faithful reproduction of the one in Paris.

The Chinese special administrative region has seen a decline in visitor traffic from the mainland in recent years. China's economic slowdown and President Xi Jinping's corruption crackdown have both contributed to the slump. Gambling revenue in Macau marked year-on-year declines for the 24 straight months through May.

Casino operators, seeking to reduce their reliance on high rollers, are shifting toward more family friendly integrated resorts.

One example is the new Parisian Macao, which is being built by Macau-based Sands China. The resort is scheduled to open by the end of this year and features its very own Eiffel Tower.

Well, almost. At 160 meters, the tower is roughly half the size of the real one in the French capital. But the Parisian landmark's latticework, stairs and railings have been carefully reproduced. Once the resort opens, visitors to the tower will be able to access an observation deck and indulge in fine dining. The structure will be illuminated every night.

The $2.7 billion resort will also feature a 150-store shopping mall inspired by Paris' Champs-Elysees boulevard, a hotel with some 2,900 rooms, a large theater, a spa and a pool.

Wong Ying-wai, Sands China's president and chief operating officer, said the idea is to create a landmark that will pull in tourists. 

Will it be enough? Last year, Hollywood-themed casino resorts opened in Macau's Cotai district. The annual visitor count, however, still decreased.

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