The huge interest in Japan’s looming IR industry was highlighted in earnest on Wednesday as an audience of 600 descended upon Grand Hyatt Tokyo for the Nikkei Integrated Resort Forum.
With the theme “Growth strategy borne by Japan’s IRs”, the event proved so popular that the organizer, Nikkei Inc, was forced to conduct a lottery in the lead-up to determine entry with it being rumored that as many as 1,400 people applied for a seat at the conference.
Among the high-powered speaker list was Galaxy Entertainment Group Vice Chairman Francis Lui, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho, Sega Sammy President and Group CEO Haruki Satomi as well as representatives from Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment.
Also speaking were key members from Japan’s House of Representatives and officials from Wakayama Prefecture and Tomakomai City in Hokkaido plus a range of scholars and other industry experts.
The forum kicked off with a Keynote Speech by Hiroyuki Hosoda, member of Japan’s House of Representatives.
Hosoda stated, “There are high expectations for Japanese IRs to achieve the establishment of a tourist nation. I hope those in the private sector can draw on each other’s wisdom, cooperate and compete to create the best we have to offer and to work for post-Olympic economic growth.”
In a panel discussion titled “IR, the center of entertainment”, representatives of three overseas IR operators gave presentations with Jason Hyland of MGM Resorts Japan stressing that “entertainment is everything in an IR.”
William Shen of Caesars Entertainment promised to “make Japan a 100-year partner.” Keith Henry of Wynn Resorts Development expressed the company’s desire to ensure “prosperous coexistence with the region.”
The Nikkei Integrated Resort Forum saw nearly 10 hours of panel sessions and presentations.