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Tourism labor shortages key hurdle for Japan IR future

Japan will soon suffer from a shortage of local middle management staff in the tourism and hospitality sector if nothing is done over the next five years, said an expert at the Japan Gaming Congress on Thursday.

Currently, Japan enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates in OECD countries, meaning that an influx of tourists in five years time could see Japan at the peril of a tourism labor shortage.

“Automation could be an option, but won’t be a solution to the problem,” said Tadayuki Hara, associate professor, University of Central Florida.

The biggest problem will be in finding experienced local middle management, he said.

If nothing is done, operators may be forced to hire out of Macau and Hong Kong and surrounding countries to fill demand, creating a leakage in the system. Such a problem has plagued Macau’s gaming industry in the past, and is still being addressed today.

Thus, education and training will become very important over the next five years, he said.

Wynn Resorts’ Chris Gordon in his presentation, welcomed the government’s initiatives to boost staff training in the hospitality industry and said the company would be willing to aggressively partner in such projects.

The company expects to have to employ between 11,000 to 16,700 employees in the country should it be awarded a license, depending on the location selected.

“There is a tight labor market, so we have to make sure we are very careful in our staff selection.”

Asia Gaming Brief is a news and intelligence service providing up to date market information for worldwide executives on relevant gaming issues in Asia.

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