Hokkaido has revealed its first budget increase in three years following the release of a supplementary budget for the 2019 fiscal year, including JPY3 million (US$27,625) set aside for the marketing of integrated resorts.
The IR figure, which covers marketing activities such as booklets and presentations to improve the understanding of residents, represents only a tiny fraction of the JPY2.86 trillion (US$26.3 billion) total budget with no firm decision yet taken by Hokkaido on whether it will pursue an IR. This was also the first policy budget since Governor Naomichi Suzuki took office.
Former governor Harumi Takahashi, who failed to reach a final decision on an IR bid, focused efforts on improving understanding of residents including four presentations by experts throughout 2018. There have also been a series of “IR Regional Briefings” since the start of 2019 in Sapporo, Kushiro, Tomakomai, Obihiro, Hakodate, Abashiri and Asahikawa.
The results of a survey held at the IR Regional Briefing in Tomakomai, the location with the most interest in an IR bid, have now been published with 78 of the 110 participants responding. In surprisingly positive results, 68% of respondents said they thought an IR would revitalize the local area with 59% stating it would increase tourism, 58% believing it would create jobs and 55% expecting it would be a benefit to the prefecture, city, and local government budgets.
Asked for their concerns should an IR come to Hokkaido, 37% expressed concerned over negative impacts on the environment, 33% over create security and addiction problems and 32% said that they were concerned it would create social problems with adolescents.
In response to a question about whether the briefing improved their understanding of IRs, 64% said yes with 14% replying no.