Jeju Determined to Emerge As Investment Paradise
Jeju is hosting the Korean-ASEAN summit on June 1, with hopes that the occasion will serve as a significant turning point for the island province to win more international recognition. The island is trying to win world natural scenic spot status in hopes of enhancing the eco-friendly image of Korea and the brand value of Jeju.
The Special Self-Governing Province of Jeju is hosting the Korean-ASEAN in order to provide momentum to further promote the island province's tourism industry in the long term and to revive the local economy by creating more jobs as a result of investment in improving tourismrelated facilities. The island also hopes that the successful hosting of the summit will bring tangible and intangible ripple effects to the local economy and provide an opportunity for the island to galvanize it.
Another important event at the Korean- ASEAN summit is that KT, Samsung, and Alticast plan to show a WiBro plus IPTV service to heads of state and governments attending the event.
KT is in charge of WiBro, Samsung is in charge of Ultra Mobile PCs, and Alticast is in charge of set-top boxes for this project. This rehearsal project is planned not only by the Korea Communications Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, but also Cheong Wa Dae. They will use this time as an opportunity to export WiBro, not just to market the superiority of Korean information technology.
WiBro was selected as a WiMAX international standard. In addition, the frequency band of WiBro - 2.3 gigahertz - was chosen as an international standard for the fourth generation mobile communication field. Considering these, the industrial benefit of mobile IPTVs with WiBro won't be limited to just Korea.
The Korea IT Times recently interviewed Kim Tae-hwan, governor of the Special Self-Governing Province of Jeju, to hear about what his provincial government plans to do for the Korean-ASEAN summit slated for June 1 and promote its tourism industry. The island provincial government will mark the third anniversary of its designation as a special selfgoverning province on July 1. Governor Kim elaborated on his government's goals to obtain a global competitive edge and improve Jeju residents' quality of life.
He said: “Jeju is concentrating its energy on establishing an ideal free market model as a free economic zone with many autonomic rights, with the exception of national defense and foreign policy, under a special law.” He pledged to turn the island province into an investment paradise by easing up on various regulations and to play a leading role in implementing the central government's Low Carbon, Green Growth policy by fostering new growth engine industries.
Q: What significance does the Jeju provincial government's hosting of the Korean-ASEAN summit carry?
A: Jeju is hosting the Korean-ASEAN summit on June 1, with hopes that the occasion will serve as a significant turning point for the island province to win wider international recognition and as a concrete basis for the implementation of President Lee Myung-bak's New Asia Initiative.
Q: What specific effects will the Korean-ASEAN summit bring about?
A: The summit will provide momentum for the island province to promote the island's tourism industry, its convention industry in particular. We expect that the investment of a total amount of 31.8 billion won [US$25.0 million] will improve Jeju's tourism environment, as well as help revive the local economy by creating more jobs. We also hope that our hosting of the summit will bring tangible and intangible ripple effects worth 260 billion won [US$204.1 million] to the local economy and reinforce our capacity to host more international conventions in the future by expanding convention facilities and improving the urban environment.
Q: What plans do you have to diversify Jeju's activities to induce investment?
A: Foreign investors have so far agreed to invest a total of 2.67 trillion won [US$2.10 billion] in eight projects, with 20.1 billion won [US$15.78 million] already injected into two IT/BTrelated projects. We already signed a joint-venture contract with Berjaya Group of Malaysia on Aug. 8 last year to build Yerae Resort-Type Residential Complex. We are trying to induce investment with a view to prepare for the advent of a knowledge- based society and to diversify the industrial structure of the province. As part of such efforts, I visited Dubai some time ago to induce investment in building a smart city on the island. We're also trying hard to induce investment in new growth engine industries, such as education, medical services, and IT and BT, in addition to the tourism industry.
Q: What competitive edges do you think Jeju has?
A: Whenever you hear or talk about Jeju, the idea of Jeju being a beautiful resort area or tourism destination may occur to you. But I'm afraid you're wrong if you think of Jeju just that way. First of all, Jeju has been designated as a special self-governing province with many autonomic rights, with the exception of national defense and foreign policy, under a special law. It was declared the island of world peace in 2005 and listed as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2007. Moreover, Jeju, as one of the world's 10 best international convention cities, ranks top in the country in terms of customer satisfaction in this regard. Jeju has also been chosen by Chinese newlyweds as one of the 10 best tourist destinations overseas. It is also endowed with clean nature and an advanced tourism infrastructure.
Q: What plans do you have to attract tourists this year?
A: A record number of 5.8 million tourists visited Jeju in 2008. The number of tourists to Jeju has increased by 7 percent on average since May last year in contrast to a decrease of more than 10 percent in outbound Korean travelers as a whole. We've set a goal to attract 6 million tourists this year. We'll make proactive efforts to attract tourists by giving them discount rates, holding various kinds of events and festivals and operating more flight services, as well as making the most of international conventions such as the upcoming Korean-ASEAN summit. We're also trying to win world natural scenic spot status to enhance the eco-friendly image of Korea and the brand value of Jeju as well.