] SK Networks
recently unveiled plans to transform its flagship Walkerhill Hotel into a must-visit tourist location as the firm seeks to reclaim a government license to reopen its duty-free shop at the hotel.
Last May, SK was forced to close its duty-free shop after 24 years in business as it lost its operational license. Now, the firm is determined to reopen its tax-free outlet by winning a highly contested bid for a new business license.
“We plan to make SK Walkerhill Duty Free an irreplaceable tax-free outlet and a must-visit tourist location that can surpass Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Hotel,” said SK Networks Chairman Choi Shin-won.
“We will also expand our duty-free shop to better accommodate tourists from China and elsewhere and become a competitive market player,” he said.
Looking ahead, SK Networks plans to invest around 600 billion won ($530 million) into expanding its duty-free store as well as building new resort and spa facilities at the Walkerhill Hotel.
Some 120 billion won will be directed toward adding new resort and spa facilities at the hotel, such as a 170-meter-wide infinity pool, premium spa facilities and a park, SK said. The new facilities are scheduled to open within two years.
The rest of the funds will be used to expand SK’s duty-free shop to span 18,224 square meters -- about 2.5 times larger than its previous size -- and build more amenities for tourists, among other strategic purposes, the firm said.
Through its efforts, SK Walkerhill Duty Free expects to rack up sales of 1.5 trillion won by 2021 and attract around 7.05 million tourists annually, SK Networks CEO Moon Jong-hoon said.
By Sohn Ji-young/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org