A briefing for the 1st Japan IR Expo in Yokohama was held at the Yokohama Symposium last Thursday, with representatives of major candidate operators from around the world providing their latest insights into their plans for the local IR industry.
The Expo will be held at PACIFICO Yokohama on 29 and 30 January 2020, organized by Innovent, Inc. and the Integrated Resort (IR) Yokohama Promotion Council.
Wynn Resorts Japan representative Chris Gordon, Melco Resorts Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho and Las Vegas Sands Managing Director of Global Development George Tanasijevich each described their vision for a Yokohama IR.
On the organizer side, Masato Hori, 1st Japan IR Expo in Yokohama Committee head and Morihiko Kawamoto, Integrated Resort Yokohama Promotion Council representative organizer took the stage.There were around 200people in attendance, mainly from local companies considering IR-related business.
Gordon said a Wynn Resorts IR “has to be a place where families and friends can gather and enjoy themselves. There are many pessimistic opinions about casinos, but we provide the best of the best [regarding responsible gaming]. We currently get 40 million guests to our resorts annually and employ 30,000. Those numbers will be even higher for a Yokohama (IR) property.”
Melco boss Ho stated, “I believe there were two winners of the Rugby World Cup held by Japan this year. One was South Africa, but the other was Yokohama. Now when people think of Yokohama, they think it’s exciting.
“We have decided on a ‘Yokohama First’ policy and we want to make Yokohama a city that symbolizes the future of Yokohama’s tourism. We also want Yokohama to be a launching point of regional tourism. That is why we set up the MCX (Melco Creative Exchange) investment fund.”
Tanasijevich began by saying, “I believe the mayor of Yokohama has made the correct decision,” adding, “I hear that there are many against the idea in surveys. There is a possibility that those who are against IR are not getting correct information. I think that many believe that IR means casinos. We will provide correct information to the Yokohama people and explain why building an IR is appropriate for the market. Using Marina Bay Sands as an example, Tanasijevich emphasized the advantages such as continuous investment, high tax revenue, and improved employment and tourism revenue, as well as local revitalization.
Represented the Expo committee, Hori said, “1st Japan IR Expo is a trade show specializing in IR, aiming to facilitate business reform for continuous regional growth based on the new IR industry while aiming to make a country a travel destination.”
His colleague, Morishima, outlines hopes to attract 10,000 attendees.