Hyundai plans to develop Gangnam tourismHyundai Department Store said Wednesday it plans to invest 30 billion won ($26.4 million) over the next five years to develop tourism around COEX Mall in Gangnam District, Seoul.
The project will be conducted in collaboration with the Gangnam District Office and the Korea International Trade Association.
Hyundai operates a department store in the area and hopes to open a duty-free shop if it receives a government license in December. Hyundai’s focus will be to emphasize Gangnam’s cultural assets. Although more tourists are visiting Gangnam for its trendy hot spots, the area isn’t much developed for tourism compared to central Seoul.
One part of Hyundai’s plan is to establish more spaces dedicated to Korean idol stars. Gangnam is the headquarters for many entertainment companies, including SM and JYP Entertainment.
Hyundai Department Store also has plans for an “idol theme park” with artwork and photo zones on 1,000 square meters in front of its COEX branch. It will also negotiate with the district office to expand K-Star road between Apgujeong-dong and Cheongdam-dong. “The intention is to attract young foreigners who are familiar with Korean celebrities by improving the area’s existing K-wave assets,” said a spokesman.
The plan would also design new tourism programs that highlight sightseeing in Gangnam, including the Seolleung Royal Tomb and the Bongeunsa Temple, traditional sites in the center of packed office districts. The company will also develop tours of Gangnam’s nightlife or traditional restaurants.
“We noticed a shortage of tourism content and infrastructure in the district,” said CEO Lee Dong-ho of Hyundai Department Store. “There’s no way duty-free shops in Gangnam can strive as a tourist site if the area fails to attract foreigners.”
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [firstname.lastname@example.org]