Huis Ten Bosch theme park agrees to land sale if IR bid is successful

Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo City has announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell part of its land as a candidate site for a casino resort.

The company will sell the land for facility construction if Nagasaki Prefecture succeeds in its integrated resort (IR) bid.

Hotel Europe, Forest Villa and the theme park’s harbour area currently stand on the 30-hectare site for sale, the actual value of which is still to be decided.

A maximum of three resorts will be permitted under the first phase of market liberalisation.

President of Huis Ten Bosch, Hideo Sawada, said that the park “will not be participating as an operator, but if there is a request we may be involved in part of the facility’s operations” (via inside asian gaming).

He added that the company would expect an IR “to be able to attract between one and two million visitors annually”.

Nagasaki Prefecture Governor, Hodo Nakamura, explained: “The land earmarked for purchase faces the sea and is a place of great beauty.”

Sasebo City Mayor, Norio Tomonaga, commented: “I have been researching the matter of IRs for over a decade and I would like to win in the regional competition.”

According to GGRAsia, there should be an announcement in August regarding how the national government will select locations for the initial resorts.

The news “comes as no surprise”, say analysts

Nomura analysts said (via GGRAsia) that the announcement “comes as no surprise”, adding that “the two parties have taken a proactive stance on attracting an integrated resort, this is the first time that specifics of collaboration with local governments have been disclosed”.

The Nomura analysts noted however that it was still “too early” to discuss the potential impact of the deal on H.I.S., Huis Ten Bosch owner.

“Once detailed development plans have been drafted and submitted, based on proposals from the integrated resort operating company, the land will be sold to the local governments, provided the [national] government actually selects the site,” the Nomura team stated.

“Given the current schedule for integrated resort reviews, we think the final decision [from the national government] is unlikely to be made until 2022 at the earliest,” they added.

Earlier this year, Huis Ten Bosch announced that it is no longer in talks to accept an investment from China’s Fosun Group.

Robot hotels

H.I.S. is well known for its early adoption of robots in its Henn na hotel chain.

The first robot hotel was at Huis Ten Bosch and H.I.S. had ambitious plans to open 100 robot hotels by 2021, rolling out 1000 reception bot systems.

AI and robot technologies are anticipated to have a major role in the future of attractions, with Alibaba recently opening a robot hotel.

However, H.I.S. announced this year that they would be culling half the bots as in practice they caused more work for human staff.

Image: Huis Ten Bosch