Integrated resort Paradise City opened its doors Thursday, making available its casino, convention center and hotel to the public.
“Paradise City was a challenge best suited for Paradise Group, a first mover in the tourism industry,” Paradise Group Chairman Chun Phil-lip said at the opening ceremony. “We will raise the stature of Korea through Paradise City, East Asia’s first integrated resort, and create a K-style destination for visitors from all over the world.”
Paradise Group Chairman Chun Phil-lip speaks to reporters at Paradise City on Thursday. (Paradise Sega Sammy)
The 330,000-square-meter resort is a combined effort between Paradise, a Korean tourism group, and Japanese entertainment company Sega Sammy Holdings. Construction on the resort began in November 2014, with the first stage of the project costing 1.3 trillion won ($1.14 billion).
Touting itself as an “art-tainment” resort, Paradise City is 40 minutes away by rail from Seoul, and about 10 minutes by car from Incheon Airport. Visitors flying to Incheon from Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo can reach the resort in about 90 minutes, according to Paradise.
Paradise City in Incheon (Paradise Sega Sammy)
The company said that it forecasts roughly 1.5 million annual visitors in the early years of the resort, with revenues for the group’s four casinos to reach 880 billion won in 2017 and 1.1 trillion won in 2018.
Paradise marks the beginning of the creation of a cluster of casino resorts in the Yeongjong Island area near Incheon Airport. Caesars is planning to open Midan City in Yeongjong, and Mohegan Sun is planning to open Inspire Resort near Incheon Airport.
In addition to these resorts, Paradise will also face competition from new resorts planned in Japan after the country legalized casinos ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Combining the strengths of a luxury casino, a convention center and family-friendly entertainment facilities, Paradise hopes to be the first mover in capturing the VIP casino market in East Asia, according to Shin Im-chul, the marketing director for Paradise Sega Sammy.
A view of the inside of the casino at Paradise City (Paradise Sega Sammy)
Some industry watchers have raised concerns that the resort will have trouble bringing in high spenders from China because of the recent spat between China and Korea over the installment of an American anti-missile defense system here.
However, Shin dismissed those concerns, saying that “the target VIP visitors from China are not affected by the Chinese travel ban because they do not travel with big tourist groups, meaning that we will be less affected by the conflict compared to other industries such as the duty-free industry.”
Paradise City plans to open the second round of facilities, including shopping facilities, a spa, a nightclub and a family-friendly carnival area, early next year.
By Won Ho-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)