Japan has an “almost limitless” potential to build a so-called MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) economy if sustainable integrated resorts (IRs) featuring casino-style gambling are developed, according to Jonathan Strock, the Director of Casino Development at Lucien Barrière.
The establishment of a MICE economy in partnership with IRs will be a key topic at the second Japan Gaming Congress (JgC) from October 7-9 in Tokyo, Japan.
As the country’s politicians debate the merits of an unprecedented bill that could pave the way for casino gambling in designated IRs, Strock, who will be a speaker at the JgC, insisted that Japan has a major opportunity to boost investment and tourism levels.
“There are so few facilities at the moment in Japan, the world’s third largest economy, which is itself just a stone’s throw away from the world’s second largest economy, China,” Strock said.
“Japan’s transport system is flawless and there is a great choice of sites, from Tokyo to Osaka to Hokkaido to Okinawa. In addition, the government wants to increase tourism. All of this points to a very promising future for Japan’s MICE economy.”
The IR bill that is currently under the spotlight is the first to have been escalated to Japan’s Parliament, the Diet, for genuine consideration.
Strock believes that the discussions over the bill will touch upon a variety of potential benefits for the country’s economy that will also be of interest to the broader industry.
“Over the next few months and years we are going to hear more and more about sustainability, planning and tourism,” he added.
“In today’s economy, it is unrealistic, particularly in Japan, to launch large construction projects without sustainability at its core, and this is going to be key in the design stage of all upcoming IRs.
“Planning is also going to be central as there are gigantic projects within very large cities and the movement of people to and from the IRs by plane, road and rail is going to be essential to success.
“Finally, but still of utmost importance, will be the promotion of Japan as a destination for individual and also business travel.”
Strock added that once the right facilities are in place, then Japan will be able to reap significant rewards.
“Corporate Japan organises a vast amount of MICE events, although few are currently organised in Japan itself,” he said. “Once there are iconic landmark facilities, this economy will be repatriated from Singapore and China to Japan, and the economic benefits will be vas