Korea's first integrated resort holds grand opening

South Korea’s newest integrated resort held its grand opening in Yeongjongdo on Thursday, giving yet another option for gamblers from neighboring China and Southeast Asia, local media reports.

"Paradise City has been the best challenge for our company as the first mover of the tourism industry. We'll make sure the resort complex becomes a key destination of 'hallyu' for everyone in the world to enjoy, which we hope will serve to upgrade the national pride in the end," said Paradise Group chairman Jeon Phillip at a media briefing, quoted by Yonhap News.

Hallyu refers to the spread of Korean pop culture.

The construction of the resort, worth around KRW 1.3 trillion (US$1.1 billion) started in 2011 through a joint venture between Paradise Co. and Sega Sammy Holdings Inc.

The project is located at the International Business Center (IBC-1 Phase 2) Area of Incheon International Airport, and is around 40 minutes drive west of the country’s capital.

It holds a land area of around 330,000 square meters, and opens with 154 game tables, 281 slot machines and 4 electronic table games (62 seats). The remaining facilities under the first phase, which will include commercial facilities and a premium spa are scheduled to be completed in 2018.

The company said that it forecasts roughly 1.5 million annual visitors in the early years of the resort, with revenues for the group’s four casinos to reach 880 billion won in 2017 and 1.1 trillion won in 2018.

The property will be restricted to foreigners only, with only one casino in South Korea permitted to allow the entry of locals. Some analysts have expressed concern about the prospects for the South Korean market, given China's crackdown on marketing to its citizens and some travel restrictions after Seoul allowed the installment of an American anti-missile defense system.

Shin Im-chul, the marketing director for Paradise Sega Sammy, dismissed those concerns. Cited by local media, he said “the target VIP visitors from China are not affected by the Chinese travel ban because they do not travel with big tourist groups, meaning that we will be less affected by the conflict compared to other industries such as the duty-free industry.”

The company is the first to open its resort in the Incheon zone. A resort headed by the Mohegan Sun group is building another property, while a consortium led by Caesars International plans another. 

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