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Creating a Wonderful Eco-Friendly Tourism Zone
An eco-friendly tourism zone in the Saemangeum-Gunsan Free Economic Zone holds a ground-breaking ceremony
Creating a Wonderful Eco-Friendly Tourism Zone
  • By matthew
  • December 15, 2009, 00:00
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THE Saemangeum-Gunsan Free Economic Zone (SGFEZ) Authority conducted a ground breaking ceremony for the Saemangeum Tourism Zone at a site near the Saemangeum Exhibit Hall on December 10, taking one step forward to creating the best, eco-friendly, integrated tour/leisure complex in Northeast Asia.

The Saemangeum Reclamation Project is moving closer to meeting its goal of becoming the hub of new developments and the tourism/leisure industry of Northeast Asia thanks to last March’s groundbreaking of the Industrial Complexes and this month’s tourism zone ground breaking.

Because 990 hectare out of a total 2,490 hectare of the tourism zone is designated a Free Economic Zone, the SGFEZ Authority and Jeonbuk Development Corporation are jointly investing in and developing a theme park, large-scale golf courses, a convention center and hotels, with development expected to last until 2019. Together with the more than 60 beautiful islands of Gogunsan, as well as the beautiful Byunsan National Park and the world’s longest Seawall measuring 33km, the project aims to develop the best tour/leisure complexes in Northeast Asia.

The grand Saemangeum Tourism Zone Project will provide convenient facilities for tourists, whose number is expected to explode once the 33-km Seawall is opened for transportation and tourism at the end of the year. In order to draw and encourage other potential tourism development projects in the vicinity, the “Gateway” Project will first develop a 100 hectare-area in Byunsanmyeon, Buan-gun, where Seawall No. 1 is located. The Gateway, using themes of Human, Nature and Experience, will develop a family-friendly tour and leisure complex, focusing on providing facilities and experiences that involve themed experiences around nature.

The Gateway Project will also emphasize the eco-friendly aspects of the Saemangeum Reclamation Project, focusing on green spaces and water, rather than artificial buildings, and developing the area as the ecological heart of Saemangeum. With the groundbreaking complete, the Saemangeum Tourism Zone is ready to position itself as one of the best, high-quality, tour/leisure complexes in Northeast Asia. The groundbreaking ceremony also acted as a good opportunity to inform potential investors, both domestic and international, of the Saemangeum Tour Complexes project. The SGFEZ Authority will develop a 990 hectare site as a free economic zone, while the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will manage a site measuring 1,500 hectare.

The Saemangeum Tourism Zone belongs to the Saemangeum International Tourism Zone Project of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. The Saemangeum Tourism Zone Authority will develop eight islands, including Sun Island, Festival Island and Green Island. The SGFEZ authority will take on the development of Sun Island first, turning it into a health and leisure space that is harmonized with nature.

The project will be completed by 2019 at a cost of 874.1 billion won. Its major facilities will include golf courses, a theme park, a lake park, commercial facilities, accommodation, culture and performance facilities and a convention center. The authority is planning to develop the tourism zone into the finest general marine and tourism resort in Northeast Asia, featuring an eco-friendly waterfront and linked to neighboring tourism attractions.

Jeonbuk Development Corporation was selected to manage the project in December 2008. The North Jeolla Provincial Government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in March, 2009 to take part in the project. The authority pushed forward with private investment attraction in cooperation with the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements in July of 2009. The gate reclamation plan was approved on November 13, 2009.

The Korean government is scheduled to finish the Saemanugeum World-Class Multi- Purpose City Plan by the end of this year. The authority held a ceremony to start the reclamation work for the Gateway area on December 10 of 2009. The government will create a reclamation work plan in the first half of 2010 and complete the Gateway reclamation project by July 2011.

The Gateway Project will take the lead in developing the Saemangeum Tourism Zone into an advanced world-class city. The project is expected to activate the development of the Saemangeum Tourism Zone significantly. The Gateway Project will offer convenient public facilities in the area located around the beginning of the Saemangeum Seawall.

The plan will create a place where people undergo various experiences. The gateway will consist of three zones: Green Heart, Red Heart and Blue Heart. The Green Heart and Red Hot zones will offer ecological and central business functions, respectively, while people can enjoy marine experiences at the Blue Heart zone. The authority put plans for water and green spaces before those of the buildings.

The Green Heart Zone will feature an ecological resort near the entrance in order to promote the environment-friendly image of Saemangeum. This zone will have a flower labyrinth theme park, an Asian culture experience village, a corporate training center, a camping site for families and an outdoor performance hall. The Blue Heart Zone will offer marine-related programs near the waterfront. Therefore, the zone will have a marina club, an outdoor swimming pool, a spa land, a theme hotel, a condominium, pension-type villas, a fishing house village and a restaurant on the water. The Red Heart Zone will be designed to attract people and lead them to explore surrounding areas. The zone will be home to famous brand stores, auto showrooms and complex commercial facilities.

The Gateway Tourism Zone will be developed into an environment-friendly tourism complex where people can enjoy shopping, cultural activities, leisure and rest. The Gateway Tourism Zone will be formed near the first seawall of the Saemangeum Tourism Zone. Its size will be 1.0 square kilometers and its total cost is estimated at 130 billion won (reclamation work: 46 billion won). The project began in November 2009 and is scheduled to be finished by June 2011.

The SGFEZ Authority will finish a research project on facilities to be built, development directions and locations by the year-end and begin to attract private investors from the beginning of next year. The authority will attract investors first and then devise development plans in accordance with their intentions. The authority will then develop the zone according to the plan and manage it. In the case of an industrial complex, the authority will first develop it and then receive investment by selling or renting land.

At present, investors both home and abroad are expressing strong interest in the development of the Saemangeum Tourism Zone. The private side will establish a special- purpose company which will then sell large plots of land in the Gateway Tourism Zone to master developers via mass land sales. The authority will select private investors by publicly inviting investors during the first half of 2010. The authority will also target domestic and foreign multinational companies, financial institutions and investor groups via international conferences and road shows. Moreover, the authority will find and create better ideas by making programs in which both ordinary people and experts can take part, such as seeking both group’s opinions when selecting investors.