South Korea’s largest casino operator Paradise Group has unveiled its plans to build Paradise City by 2017 at a cost of US$1.799bn at the International Business Center at Incheon International Airport in Yeongjong Island in the north west of the country.
Paradise’s joint venture with Japanese entertainment group Sega Sammy Holdings will include a 11,190-sq. m. foreigner-only casino, a five-star hotel, convention facilities and multiple entertainment venues.
The construction will take place in two phases with the first phase of the development expected to cost US$1.7bn. The second phase will increase the development’s size to 336,000 sq m, the size of 47 football stadiums.
This will include indoor and outdoor entertainment facilities, multi-purpose halls, and shopping centers, spas, and shopping facilities.
Speaking at a press conference in Lotte Hotel Seoul, Paradise-Sega Sammy President Choi Jong-hwan said: “We will build a luxurious resort where foreign visitors can experience Korean culture while staying here. Through this project, we will try hard to upgrade the domestic casino industry and make Paradise City one of the major tourist attractions in Korea. We expect the main customers of the casino to be from China. Of the 11 million foreign travelers to Korea last year, 3m were Chinese and 2.7m were from Japan. We expect the number of Chinese visitors to increase steadily over the years. In the case of other major gaming destinations like Macao or Las Vegas, only a small number of the customers gambling are locals. Since Yeongjongdo is closer to Macao than from Beijing, it will be easier to visit Incheon than to fly to Macao. Paradise City will be the first ‘integrated’ resort to be built in Korea, based on the model of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The casino will be the central facility creating profit and entertainment, retail, and shopping, with meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE) facilities as subsidiaries. The concept that we have for the resort is ‘Korean culture,’ to differentiate our resort from the integrated resorts in Singapore or Macao. We want our facility to be a tourist attraction for ‘hallyu,’ the Korean cultural wave, but it won’t be a passive viewing experience.’’
Paradise expects the opening of the resort will create 766,000 new jobs.
Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corporation and a consortium of Caesars and Lippo Ltd saw their plans rejected by the government when they bid to build casinos in Incheon.
Paradise currently runs five casinos in Korea and with over 60 per cent of its customers coming from China.
The number of Chinese tourists to South Korea increased by almost 50 per cent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2013.