$8.8 billion ‘tourism hub’ planned at Saemangeum


Korea plans to spend 10.2 trillion won ($8.8 billion) by 2020 to develop a “world-class tourism industry hub” on a vast reclaimed tidal flat south of the capital, the government said yesterday.

Approved by the free economic zone committee made up of representatives from the government and private sector, the plan calls for building a city for cultural, recreational and tourism businesses in the Saeman- geum region located 280 kilometers (174 miles) south of Seoul, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said.

The ministry said the new city would cover 24.4 square kilometers of land (6,029 acres), with two international schools, as well as theaters, museums and a 72-hole golf course. It will also have modern health care facilities and residences keyed to attract foreign investors.

Once built, the new city could house 120,000 residents.

“In effect, the city will become a center for tourism and recreational business that want to target the Northeast Asian markets,” an official said.

Seoul will spend 46 billion won next year to lay the foundation for the new city. The Saemangeum project began in 1991 with state expenditure to date totaling over 2.4 trillion won. The region covers 401 square kilometers with plans underway to transform the tidal flats into agricultural, industrial and tourism centers.