An aerotropolis in the making, continuous public spending on Metro Clark’s development has convinced the private sector that it is the next boom town north of Metro Manila.
To go with Clark’s improved prospects, Widus, in particular, is implementing a massive infrastructural development that will see more rooms and bigger gaming and event spaces. It has 414 additional rooms in the pipeline. Tower 2, containing 114 rooms and suites, is due to open in October, giving it more than enough time to welcome guests attending the Hot Air Balloon Festival in the first quarter. The 300-key third tower will rise between 2017 and 2018.
The current 420-square foot casino that carries 150 gaming machines and 27 table and poker games will be expanded significantly. In addition to the existing two-ballroom Widus Convention Center, the resort plans to increase the space to accommodate five 50-pax function rooms and a 75-pax plenary hall.
The property’s big plans are complemented by recruitment and retraining programs to fit into a more diverse international market following the announced entry of foreign carriers, said Alfred Reyes, the new general manager. The human capital requirement to man the additional 200 tables for the casino has led Widus to look “as far as the north”, referring to Northern Luzon, for aspirants. Reyes said 40 additional jobs will open to support the extra 114 rooms.
Among those he hired in the new team are a Japanese sales manager and a Singaporean chef, who will oversee the operations of Widus’ four F&B outlets.
As part of its career program, the hotel participates in a six-month exchange program that hosts 10-12 Koreans, who are assigned primarily to front office. Widus has a good share of regular inbound traffic from South Korea via Asiana Airlines, and Jin Air, which have direct flights to Clark.
As Widus expands, it is determined to strengthen its position as an international hotel specifically for the Gulf Coast Countries market, which includes UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait. Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways are flying into Clark beginning October this year.