SCI Holdings Limited, a Chinese land development company, will build a multi-facility leisure resort worth over 200 billion won (US$197.7 million) on South Korea’s eastern coast to draw tourists to the scenic area relatively lesser known to Chinese tourists, the company said Tuesday. As a first step, SCI Holdings and the Gangwon provincial government plan to sign a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday to proceed with the project named “China Dream City.” China Dream City would have multiple complexes, including hotels, condos, shopping malls and entertainment facilities, it said.
It is the first time that a Chinese company will build a large-scale resort in the eastern province. Most of the investors from the neighbor country choose the southern resort island of Jeju, which has become the No. 1 destination for Chinese tourists, thanks to an accommodative visa policy and easy access from major cities. The company has already acquired 501,000 square meters of land in Jeongdongjin, which has become one of the most popular beaches for watching sunrise on New Year’s Day since the 1995 hit drama “Sandglass” was filmed there.
The beach is about an hour drive from Yangyang International Airport, which has transformed itself from an abandoned airport to a new gateway for Chinese travelers after a new visa program took effect in April. Under the program, Chinese group tourists who enter through the airport can stay in Gangwon Province for 72 hours without a visa. The Gangneung City government has vowed to provide support for the development project. The city needs more accommodation and leisure facilities in the run-up to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to be held in the nearby alpine city.