Izumisano City, one of the 33 cities in Osaka Prefecture, has announced several upcoming tourism developments in Rinku Town, located a 10-minute drive from Kansai International Airport, the main gateway for air travel into Japan’s Kansai region.
The city made an effort to raise its tourism profile around six years ago, when the then mayor pushed for more integrated resorts (IRs) and hotels to be built in Izumisano to unlock the area’s potential, shared Ryota Nakahira, planning general manager for Izumisano City.
And while the city lost the IR bid to nearby Yumeshima – a reclaimed area in Osaka Bay – Izumisano fought on to capture the throngs of international leisure and business visitors passing through Kansai International Airport yearly.
A prominent project will be the Setia Izumisano City Center (SICC), a two-hectare mixed-use development scheduled to open in 2024. SICC will house serviced apartments, a four-star hotel, a 1,600-pax convention centre, offices, a conservatory with fountains and waterfalls, gardens, and F&B and retail shops.
The developer is S P Setia, a Malaysian real estate specialist that is also behind Setia SPICE Convention Centre in Penang and Setia City Convention Centre in Selangor.
“We’re working closely with our hotel partner to ensure that we cater for diverse tastes in food. We want to bring in Malaysian and South-east Asian food, and let Japan experience Malaysian hospitality,” S P Setia’s executive vice president, Koe Peng Kang, told TTG Asia.
As for the area’s selling points, Koe said: “Izumisano offers a genuine way to experience the Japanese way of life without the hordes of tourists.”
In addition to the SICC, other upcoming attractions in Izumisano include the Kanku Ice Arena (opening December 2019); as well as an expansion of Rinku Premium Outlets by 2020 that will add another 60 to its existing 210 shops.
As well, new hotels on the cards include the Hen na Hotel Kansai Airport with 98 keys (opening November 2019); the Oriental Suites Kansai Airport with 258 guestrooms (opening winter 2019); and the Hotel WBF Grande Kansai Airport with 700 guestrooms and a rooftop bar (opening 2020). With these new developments, Rinku Town will boast 2,834 rooms, up from the current 1,778 rooms.
Aside from capturing the inbound crowd heading to Osaka for the World Expo 2025, Koe also shared plans to capture more Muslim travellers.
Calling the segment “a well of untapped potential”, he believes that the SICC will “inspire confidence in visiting Muslim tourists” due to Setia’s “experience and knowledge of designing and constructing Muslim-friendly buildings and environments. Moreover, Kansai International Airport is already a Muslim-friendly airport, featuring halal-certified F&B options, as well as a prayer room.
“There are many things to be seen here, we just have to polish and generate the story,” concluded Koe.