Wakayama prefecture has announced that if the national basic policy for IR bids is decided in January 2020, it will begin operator recruitment by the spring and select an operator in the fall.
The prefecture had previously announced its plan to bid for an IR on the manmade island of Wakayama Marina City with a planned opening in 2024.
The government announced a basic policy draft, setting criteria for IR operators, in September, which it will finalize at the beginning of 2020. Once this has been confirmed, the prefecture will immediately publish its implementation policy draft, “around the spring period,” it said.
Wakayama announced its IR basic concept in 2018. It aims for a resort-style IR that would make use of natural tourist resources, such as nearby Shirahama and Mount Koya. As the prefecture has already drafted a basic concept, an early implementation policy should be possible.
At a regular assembly on 3 December, approximately JPY7.7 billion (US$71 million) was calculated as the debt burden for purchasing the candidate site for an IR. Further, proposals have been made for the establishment of a selection committee in which external experts will evaluate IR operators. This assembly will close on 19 December.
Three companies have shown interest in a Wakayama IR: Suncity Group, Bloomberry Resorts and Barrière.