Japan has big MICE potential if resorts launch

Japan has an “almost limitless” potential to build meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, or MICE, if sustainable integrated resorts featuring casino-style gambling are developed, according the director of casino development at Lucien Barrière.

As Japan’s politicians debate the merits of an unprecedented bill that could pave the way for casino gambling in designated  integrated resorts, Jonathan Strock, who will be speaking on the topic at the Japan Gaming Congress in October, said the country 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 integrated resorts bill that is currently under the spotlight is the first to have been passed to Japan’s Parliament, the Diet, for 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.”