Argentine company Commercial Tourism Company is looking to spend $60m restoring an eight-story casino ship, which has been in the port of Puerto Iguazú, a border city in the province of Misiones in Argentina, since 2013, with the plan of reopening and mooring it near the new bridge.
Lawyer Magno Álvarez, Paraguayan consul in Puerto Iguazú, who is accompanying the project, said: “Without a doubt, it is an unprecedented attraction in the Triple Border area, from Paraguay to the world.”
The area is known as the Triple Borders region due to adjoining borders of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.
Currently in the port of Presidente Franco, on the Argentine side of the river, near the bridge to Foz de Iguazú, the restored casino ship will in future lie in Paraguayan water and attract guests. Paraguayan authorities have given their support the project of the Argentine company Compañía Comercial de Turismo. Apart from the fact that the ship still has to be brought into shape, Paraguayan government officials agreed to help ensure that all permits to operate are obtained.
Similar plans to renovate the vessel were stalled in 2013. President of the Provincial Institute of Lottery and Casinos (IPLyC), Héctor Rojas Decut, said: “This ship is private property and we from the IPLyC have no connection with what is going to happen or where it is going to work. A sublicense will only be enabled when all the investments for it to function as a hotel, casino and restaurant are fulfilled. There is a company that has the exclusive license for casinos in Puerto Iguazú. That company was [in 2013] going to assign a sub-license to a third party who was going to make the investments in the floating casino. As these investments were never fulfilled, the IPLyC never granted the sublicense.”
In 2015, the Ministers of Tourism of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay declared the Triple Border area of tourist interest, seeing its potential as a tourism destination.
The ship, which was built in 1962 and named “Nicolás Mihanovich” after the pioneer of commercial shipping in Argentina, is unique in Latin America. It is 90m long and 18m wide, has eight floors and 52 cabins, divided into Suite, Junio Suite and Superior Suite. There are swimming pools, saunas, jacuzzis, solarium and fitness studios on board. The ship was initially operated as a hotel and casino ship, it has four gaming rooms with various tables and machines.