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Osaka Mayor: MGM Osaka IR Could Boost Local Economy by $15B a Year

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Osaka Mayor Hideyuki Yokoyama has set lofty goals for the MGM Osaka integrated resort (IR) project. He envisions the city attracting 20 million foreign visitors annually once the complex opens its doors.

Billions in Annual Revenue

Yokoyama's ambitious target, unveiled during a lecture in front of the Kansai Association of Corporate Executives, reflects the city's unwavering commitment to revitalizing its tourism industry and positioning itself as a global destination of choice. He estimates that even a modest inflow of 10 million inbound tourists could generate a fresh influx of JPY1.1 trillion (US$7.73 billion) into the local economy.

Related: Integrated Resort in Osaka, Japan, Faces New Delays

If the number of tourists doubles, the economic impact could skyrocket by an additional JPY1 trillion (US$6.9 billion), Yokoyama projected. The mayor's vision for MGM Osaka is deeply rooted in the belief that the IR holds the key to unlocking Osaka's true potential.

To fully realize this transformative vision, the mayor envisions MGM Osaka expanding its MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) space to 645,835 square feet within 10 years of its opening. This significant expansion would cater to the growing demand for MICE facilities in Osaka, solidifying the city's position as a premier destination for business and convention events.

The proposed IR, a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and Orix Corporation, is set to rise on Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka Bay, offering a breathtaking backdrop for the resort's attractions. The project implementation agreement signed between the Osaka authorities and Osaka IR KK on September 28 outlines a meticulous timeline for the IR's development, with ground preparations starting in the summer of 2024.

Preparatory Work Begins

Earlier this month, the Osaka city and prefectural authorities announced that preparatory works to address the risk of soil liquefaction and other land issues at the IR site had commenced. These measures, encompassing both liquefaction mitigation and the tackling of underground obstacles and soil contamination, underscore the city's dedication to ensuring the IR's successful construction and operation.

While the initial investment cost of JPY1.08 trillion (US$7.34 billion) was estimated, the Osaka authorities indicated in early September that the cost could increase by JPY190 billion (US$1.3 billion). This adjustment reflects the need for comprehensive measures to address potential challenges and ensure the IR's long-term viability.

Despite the anticipated investment, the potential economic benefits of MGM Osaka far outweigh the costs. The IR is expected to generate substantial revenue for the city through taxes, employment opportunities, and increased tourism spending. It will also enhance Osaka's reputation as a cosmopolitan hub, attracting businesses, conventions and tourists from around the globe.

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