The Korea Herald


Korean version of ‘Las Vegas’ to emerge in Incheon

Amusement park to include attractions dedicated to Korean storylines and culture

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Nov. 5, 2019 - 12:02

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UNCASVILLE, Connecticut -- Incheon, home to South Korea’s largest international airport, is set to transform into a comprehensive entertainment zone representative of Northeast Asia, according to officials.

A five-star hotel, an arena, convention facility, casino and theme park are being fast-tracked at the International Business Center of the airport.

The Incheon International Airport Corp. said Tuesday that the integrated entertainment resort project -- the largest in Korea under the name Inspire is expected to start operations in 2022.

The project is being undertaken by Inspire Integrated Resort, which has been set up by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, the largest casino resort operator in North America, according to IIAC.

It will proceed in four different phases until 2031. 

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment CEO Mario Kontomerkos speaks during a press briefing on the Inspire project at the Mohegan Sun resort in Conneticut, US, Monday. (Yonhap) Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment CEO Mario Kontomerkos speaks during a press briefing on the Inspire project at the Mohegan Sun resort in Conneticut, US, Monday. (Yonhap)

The current construction involves 1.5 trillion won ($1.3 billion) in funds to create a five-star hotel equipped with 1,256 rooms, along with a multipurpose performance hall that can seat 15,000 persons, a convention facility and a casino exclusive for foreign visitors. The construction will be completed by end-2021, and open for business in June the following year.

The second phase of construction will begin in the second half of 2021, involving 1.3 trillion won in investment to build an indoor theme park by Paramount Pictures. The outdoor theme park will be completed by 2024.

IIAC officials predicted that the project, worth around 2.8 trillion won, will create over 10,000 new jobs in the region. It will also contribute to creating some 167 trillion won in production and 60 trillion won in value-added services.

“Once the Inspire resort opens at Incheon airport in 2022, it will not only offer world-class facilities for domestic and international travelers but also provide high-quality jobs in the region,” said IIAC CEO Koo Bon-hwan.

“We will transform Incheon International Airport as the center of global economic activities that integrates aviation, logistics and high-tech industry with the Inspire project by speeding up our efforts to create an economic bloc within the region.”

Paramount Pictures’ vision for Incheon

Paramount Korea, a Paramount Pictures-branded theme park slated to open in 2025 near the Incheon airport, is betting on differentiated contents and scale compared to local players such as Everland and Lotte World, according to the US filmmaker’s top official.
Planned image of Paramount Korea (MGE) Planned image of Paramount Korea (MGE)

Paramount Pictures’ first-ever international theme park will span over 404,600-square-meter area in Yeongjongdo, Incheon, with 40 branded attractions and integrated retail, dining and entertainment.

“(Our strength will synergize with) Korean culture that embraces going to a theme park. We are creating a theme park that is really good for the whole family, providing a holistic experience for both parents and children,” said Ty Granaroli, senior vice president of Paramount Pictures, during a press meeting with Korean journalists in Connecticut on Sunday local time.

When asked what will differentiate Paramount Korea from existing theme parks Everland and Lotte World, Granaroli said it is the storytelling power that the company has.

“We are storytellers. We create movies and contents, and have a legacy of storytelling. People love great stories. But I think successful theme parks in the world are mostly based on their intellectual property,” said Granaroli.

“We will continue to add new stories to our theme park, as we will make more movies in the future,” he added.

The attractions will be based on the storylines of globally hit movies such as “Mission Impossible” and “Star Trek” spin-offs, and also have Korean culture and storylines, Paramount said.

“There will be a special show called ‘Dreams of Korea,’ which will include stories and the history of Korea,” said Granaroli, adding that other live entertainment shows including day and night parades will be designed to keep visitors extend duration of visit.

A number of attractions will be K-pop-themed, where they will be operated along with music and performances, according to Paramount.

“Every ride (at the K-pop-themed zone) will have K-pop music onboard. This area will be like a K-pop music festival,” said Granaroli, adding that the iconic water roller-coaster which plays K-pop will be called Idol.

Other major attractions will be derived from scenes from movies including “Mission Impossible,” “Italian Job,” Tomb Raider” and more, with 4D technology, stuntmen’s live performance and racing track experience, Paramount said.

The US film company said it will revive the Hollywood boulevard at its main gate called Paramount Gate, which will lead to the Paramount Boulevard. Restaurants and cafe streets will offer a Southern California atmosphere.

Currently under construction, the Inspire Integrated Entertainment Resort in Incheon is aiming for the $1.6 billion-worth first phase opening in 2022.

Last year, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, the resort’s corporate parent, clinched a deal with Paramount Pictures to brand a theme park inside the resort.

The initial opening will include three hotel towers providing more than 1,200 rooms, dining, retail and entertainment options, a 15,000-seat sports and concert arena, a foreigners-only casino offering 150 table games and 700 slots, an indoor water park and convention space.

By Kim Da-sol, Korea Herald correspondent (