The Development of an Integrated Resort in Tomakomai
By Yuya Kudo
(Japanese translation coming soon.)
Do you know what IR stands for? IR stands for “Integrated Resort.” IR is kind of a complex that includes a hotel with a casino, entertainment shows, theme parks, and so forth. In 2018, The Japanese Cabinet approved the Integrated Resort Promotion Act (IRPA), and it made it possible to build resort complex facilities. Recently, the city of Tomakomai, which is in Hokkaido, has been garnering attention as a possible site for IR.
There are many reasons why Tomakomai was chosen as the proposed site for IR. First and foremost is that Hokkaido has a huge amount of tourist resources such as the magnificent views, good snow, delicious cuisine, and fresh air.
Furthermore, Tomakomai is very close to the city of Chitose where there is an airport. Because of this, it is quite convenient to get there by public transportation. It has lots of necessary elements that wealthy people all over the world look for. That’s why Tomakomai is the best place to set up IR.
Tomakomai is taking a positive attitude toward a casino resort because there are a few tourists even though the city is rich in tourist resources. However, there is some risk. For instance, there might be anti-IR demonstrations and there is a risk of some people becoming addicted to gambling. In Addition, there’s a possibility of an increase in crime in the city. These issues will become future problems.
Although IR will have many positive effects on tourism industries, it will also have some drawbacks. Tomakomai is in the mix for an IR invitation, but it hasn’t been completely decided yet. It is hoped that establishing IR in the city will become official soon.
* Editor's note: Due to the Covid-19 virus pandemic, the decision of which cities will be awarded Integrated Resorts has been temporarily put on hold.