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Tomakomai expects up to $3 billion investment

According to a local media report, the Tomakomai municipal authorities have compiled their interim report on the IR they hope to build, projecting a US$2-3 billion investment by the time the facility’s doors open. They also expect that the IR will pull in 6-11 million visitors per year and produce total annual sales in the US$1.2-1.5 billion range.

These estimates are based both on their own calculations as well as the feedback from IR operators they received from the nation’s first RFI process conducted last year.

In the RFI process orientation documents, the local government had suggested two possible sites for the IR, but the interim report clearly indicates that the forested Uenae area, which lay about 10-15 minutes by car from New Chitose Airport, has now been selected as the candidate site, based on the feedback from operators.

As for the transportation infrastructure, it is contemplated that an electric shuttle bus service will operate between the airport and the IR. A new highway or access road from the East Tomakomai Interchange might also be constructed. Finally, there is a possibility that a monorail serving the IR might be built from JR Numanohata Station, which is the train station adjacent to JR Tomakomai Station on the Muroran Main Line.

Beyond the IR facility itself, the plan calls for measures to make the city of Tomakomai itself more attractive to visitors. This involves to creation of so-called “bustling areas” with food and tourist-oriented services in the immediate vicinity of JR Tomakomai Station as well as the port area.

Finally, the city authorities foresee that the IR will create between 5,000-10,000 new jobs in the municipal area. That figure could mean a boost of over 10% to the current 84,000 people employed in the city.

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