No competition for Saipan on the horizon

Tourism authorities in Guam have stated that they are not keen on developing casinos as one of the island’s main tourist attractions, fearing a further decline of the Japanese tourist market, the Guam Post Daily has reported.
Guam is an island located in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) north of Saipan.
The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) strategy to enhance the islands’ attraction as a tourist destination would exclude gaming, based upon a report issued by the CNMI stating that a decline of Japanese tourists to the casino-hosting island of Saipan has been noticeable.
“Japanese are not into casino[s],” the chairman of GVB, Milton Morinaga, was quoted by the Guam Post as saying.
Although the report claims Saipan ‘has seen a vast improvement to its economy as a result of legalising the casino industry’ since 2014, the same report points out that the number of visitor arrivals from Japan has declined 16 per cent – although visitor arrivals from China and South Korea have steadily climbed.
Saipan is home to an Integrated Resort operated by Imperial Pacific International Holdings.
The Hong Kong-listed company has been paying an annual fee of US$15 million (MOP1.20 billion) to the CNMI Treasury for holding a casino licence since it began operations.
Considering that Japan is working on legislation to open Integrated Resorts, the chairman of the tourist authority in Guam further claimed that the island could not support such endeavours, referencing the size of the island as unable to support such an industry.
Moreover, he claimed that the tourism industry in Saipan was a “fragile one” due to its reliance upon Chinese visitors, arguing that if something was to happen that reduced visitor arrivals from that country it would “greatly” affect its casino industry.