MACAO, Sept. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Sands China's Cotai Strip ® development was beautifully aflame in celebration Thursday evening, as the integrated resort city introduced to Macao the latest additions at Sands ® Cotai Central, led by the launch of Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Central, which has the double distinction of being the largest hotel for both Macao and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
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Sands China Ltd. (HKSE: 1928), a majority-held subsidiary of global integrated resort developer Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS), opened Sands Cotai Central's second phase Thursday – which also includes new restaurants and retailers, as well as a new Polynesian-themed gaming area – with a series of exciting events.A 10:00 a.m. press conference gave media a chance to ask questions of key executives in attendance, including Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Sands China Ltd. Chairman Sheldon G. Adelson and Starwood Hotels & Resorts President and Chief Executive Officer Frits van Paasschen. In his opening remarks to the gathered media before the Q&A session, Sands China Ltd. President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Tracy said, "It's been an honour for our team to lead Sands China Ltd. as we all witness the realisation of Mr. Adelson's vision of a fully integrated resort city on the Cotai Strip development. We've come a long way from that muddy swampland that Mr. Adelson first surveyed. And there were plenty along the way who said it couldn't be done. But here we are today, marking yet another grand achievement – the opening of the second phase of Sands Cotai Central, featuring Sheraton Macao Hotel – the largest Starwood property in the world, and Macao's largest hotel." Mr. van Paasschen also addressed the media, saying, "We like to think of Sheraton as the world's gathering place. Sheraton is the leading hotel brand in this region and an ideal fit for this spectacular new hotel in Macao. And what a great combination: Starwood's largest brand in the world's fastest growing hotel market." The local community was also involved in the day's festivities, with a special kowhaiwhai pattern mural painting and puzzle-piecing event on Level 3 of Shoppes Cotai Central. A traditional art form of the indigenous Maori of New Zealand, the beautiful kowhaiwhai pattern – called "kori" and meaning "to flourish" – was painted and assembled as a mural in collaboration with members of the Fuhong Society of Macao, a non-profit organization providing occupational skills training and employment services to the mentally challenged. Symbolising togetherness, the event was also attended by Dr. Miriam Adelson, who helped place the final piece of the pattern, along with Qian Jin, President of Greater China, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Red carpet arrivals at the evening's ceremonial opening of Sheraton Macao included Chief Executive of Macao Special Administrative Region Chui Sai On, government officials, company executives from Sands and Sheraton, international film star Zhang Ziyi, and the stars of the hit reality TV show The Voice of China . At the evening's main ceremonial event, Maori Haka and Tahitian dancers performed at Sheraton Macao's lantern-lit Jaya pool deck, followed by the seating of the attending dignitaries. A large goddess-accompanied heliosphere then delivered a ceremonial flame to a waiting dancer on the stage. After passing the flame to the dignitaries gathered on stage, a line was ignited, carrying the flame up to light fiery logos of Sands Cotai Central and Sheraton, on the facade of Sheraton Macao's Sky tower – setting off a huge, choreographed pyrotechnic display that included fireworks illuminating all the Sands China properties of the Cotai Strip development: Sands Cotai Central, The Venetian ® Macao and The Plaza™ Macao. Seven structures in total were lit by the display, first in sequence, and then altogether in unison for the spectacular grand finale. After watching Cotai's biggest fireworks show ever, the first 5,000 visitors to the property received commemorative gold coins marking the historic occasion, distributed from various locations within Sands Cotai Central.