Building Tourism-Leisure Town
- Culture-Tourism Minister Chung announces the dream project

Haenam and Yeongam regions in South Jeolla Province would be developed to build culture, tourism, leisure and sports facilities to be made a tourism-leisure type corporate town.
Culture-Tourism Minister Chung Dong-chea, at a media briefing on Jan.17, announced the ministry's plan for the project under the title of the Southwest Coastal Development Project.
The project would involve the construction of a number of major tourist-leisure facilities including an integrated marine leisure sports complex, golf course, a silver town and hotels, among others related to recreational leisure facilities, residential, educational and medical facilities.
The facilities will feature various local cultural and traditional characteristics as a multifunctional space promoting tourism, leisure and recreational activities and other events.
The government has been preparing for laws and regulations for these projects from last year including the exemption of national and local taxes for these projects to the extent that mammoth tourism and leisure facilities are built
The ministry plans to promote the construction of a model case project as early as possible to attract corporate investment in the projects.
The pilot project will be promoted on a land as wide as 3 million to 5 million pyeong, which will be undertaken by a consortium of private firms, local governments and the Korea National Tourism Organization(KNTO).
By the end of next month, the consortium will complete the project with details of the project publicly displayed on March 15 and following the screening by an expert committee on facilities to be built in the pilot town.
For effective promotion of the project, the ministry plans to set up the Tourism-Leisure City Promotion Planning Team next month, comprised of officials from related government agencies including the Ministry of Construction and Transportation, the Ministry of Finance and Economy, The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Government Administration, among others.
The ministry is unable to make a projection for the economic effect of the project as it will vary depending on location and the number of facilities to be built until a firm plan is drawn up, but in the case of building the project on a 3 million pyeong site, it is expected to generate 7 trillion won worth of economic effects and in the case of 10 million pyeong 22 trillion won worth.
Korea will be like France and the United States and has a tourism-leisure city popular around the world when the project is completed as planned, ready to go a step up in the ladder to become an advanced tourism country.
The number of foreign tourists that visited the country last year was estimated to have totaled 5.82 million, according to the KNTO.
The figure is up 22.4 percent from the previous year, the largest one since the number of foreign tourists broke the 5 million level in 2000.
The figure is also over 4.1 percent originally targeted under the Tourism Promotion Five-Year Plan. The Culture-Tourism Ministry attributed the encouraging number to tourism triggered by a popular movie, "Winter Sonata," and other mass culture contents. They became tourist themes by tourism agencies which took advantage of the popularity of Korean cultural stuff overseas, in Japan, particular, in their marketing strategies.
By country, Taiwan outdid all others with its number of tourists up 56.7 percent owing to the popularity of Korean stuff and the expanded number of air flights to Korea from Taiwan. Japan came second with its tourists visiting Korea up 35.5 percent thanks to the Korean wave. Japanese accounted for 40 percent of foreign tourists visiting Korea.
In the meantime, the number of outbound tourists totaled 8.83 million, up 24.9 percent from the preceding year. nw

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