A considerable rise in the number of foreign tourists visiting the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in order to play at the Best Sunshine Live temporary casino reportedly helped the American territory post a 28.6% year-on-year increase in its real gross domestic product (GDP) for 2016.
According to a report from GGRAsia, the revelation came from the United States Department of Commerce after it declared that export services had been ‘the largest contributor’ to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ real GDP in 2016. The government agency classifies money spent on gaming as an export service in order to better reflect tourist expenditure and further stated that this had been aided by ‘significant growth in visitor spending, particularly on casino gambling’.
Operated by Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific International Holdings Limited, the Best Sunshine Live facility opened its doors in October of 2015 and ended its first year in business with unaudited VIP table games rolling chip turnover of nearly $32.37 billion. The venue had been located in an upscale former Garapan shopping mall offering over 100 slots as well as almost 50 gaming tables but has since closed in order to make way for the much larger Imperial Pacific Resort and Hotel Saipan.
The United States Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis reportedly moreover explained that the number of tourists visiting the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in 2016 had swelled by more than 10% year-on-year and that this had ‘primarily [reflected] an increase in visitor arrivals from [South] Korea and China’.
The $500 million Imperial Pacific Resort and Hotel Saipan began welcoming gamblers on July 6 and the United States Department of Commerce reportedly stated that its construction along with ‘other hotel construction on Saipan’ had furthermore helped the local economy by pushing ‘private fixed investment’ over 60%.
GGRAsia reported that real GDP growth for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands had stood at 3.8% in 2015 while the figure for the United States not including its territories rose by a mere 1.5% year-on-year in 2016 after posting a 2.9% gain for the previous twelve-month period.