Universal theme park South Korea
SEOUL, South Korea - Universal Parks & Resorts and a local partner signed an agreement Tuesday aimed at establishing a Universal Studios theme park in South Korea that they want to see up and running in 2012.
"What we are hoping to do is to bring in a world class attraction not only for the Korean people but to draw tourism to this country," Frank P. Stanek, president of USKOR & Associates Co., Universal's South Korean partner, said at a press conference, citing the attraction of possible visitors from nearby China.
Other than the proposed date for opening the park, other details were vague, including how much the project might eventually cost. No site has been decided and financing remains in the planning stage, officials said.
"We are in the process of evaluating our options," said Stanek, a former Walt Disney Co. executive involved in setting up Disney them parks in the United States, Japan and France.
He said that officials hoped to decide on a location by the end of this year.
Universal Parks & Resorts, a division of General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal, operates Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando, Florida, and Hollywood, California, in the United States, as well as in Osaka, Japan.
The parks include attractions based on Universal films including "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" and "King Kong," as well as movies made by other studios such as "Spiderman" and "Shrek."
Universal Parks & Resorts Chairman and CEO Thomas L. Williams said South Korea's economic development, the concentration of half its almost 50 million population in the Seoul area and South Korean's familiarity with American cinema were positive factors behind the decision to bring a theme park to the country.
"We want to put you into your favorite scene from your favorite movie," he said, referring to attractions at Universal's other theme parks based on the films of Universal Studios.
In a press release, USKOR and Universal Parks & Resorts said that a facility in South Korea could potentially exceed the size of Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Studios Japan.
Officials also said a them park would also draw on elements of South Korean cinema, which has developed an international reputation, especially in Asia.
Universal Parks & Resorts is developing Universal Studios parks in Singapore and Dubai.
Click here to read about another US company that opened operations in South Korea.
I would think there would be a market for such a theme park in the ROK. The only trouble I see- Where to locate it in a country of 50 million people living in an area the size of Indiana or Illinois? Also how any park would effect South Korea's already horrendous traffic.
If I had to guess, Universal and South Korean officials are thinking about those issues also.
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