It seems clear that the secret of classical Walt Disney animation characters' longevity includes more than just animations featuring Mickey and Donald. In fact, the Disney entertainment empire has been backed by a different sector of entertainment business as well: theme parks such as Disney Land and Disney World.

The Gyeonggi Provincial Government recently announced that it will spend over 370 billion won ($38 million) to build Hallyuwood, a Hollywood-style entertainment complex themed on Korean culture and entertainment, which is scheduled to have been built in Ilsan, north of Seoul, by 2010. Korean films or television dramas appear to have little in common with Disney animations, but, as far as the purpose is concerned, it is basically the same.

A concept view of Hallyuwood to be built in Ilsan by 2010
"Hallyuwood will be an industrial complex to create new cultural contents and a fun-filled theme park based on the country's entertainment contents at the same time", Gyeonggi Province Governor Sohn Hak-kyu said in a news conference on the project last month. "The star-oriented cultural phenomenon is likely to wither soon, when it fails to get supports from related sociocultural infrastructures", said Sohn, explaining why the new theme park is needed. To this end, the province has allocated the 370 billion won to build traffic infrastructures, R&D, and production and distribution facilities for cultural products, the construction of which has already begun earlier this year. "We will focus especially on having an efficient traffic system around the complex, since access and the securing of enough parking spaces will be a determinant for the success of the project", said the governor.

Consequently, a total of 100 billion won will be set aside for the construction of a monorail, which will link the complex to nearby subway stations. The province will also spend 46 billion won to build an underground parking lot that can accommodate 2,000 vehicles beneath the complex.

According to the province's plan, the monorail will stretch for 1.5 kilometers, starting from Jeongbalsan Station on Subway Line No. 3, passing through the complex to reach Daehwa Station, the final destination of the monorail on the same subway line. The new transportation system is expected to carry about 30,000 passengers every hour.

Ilsan, where the complex will be nested, is in the vicinity of the Korea International Exhibition Center or KINTEX, the biggest exhibition center in the country. Ilsan Lake, the largest artificial lake in Asia which attracts more than 2.5 million visitors a year, is on the other side of the planned Hallyuwood site.

Also located near the complex will be a China town, a new airport terminal, an aquarium and a sports mall, which are either under construction or planned to begin groundbreaking soon. Two international airports - Incheon and Gimpo which are within an hour's drive from the future complex site - are expected to strengthen the function of the complex along with nearby studios of SBS and MBC, major local broadcasters.

Taking advantage of the lake park, another scenic lakeside park will be built on a lot measuring 138,600 square meters inside the complex, and a central waterway will also be constructed, with the water flowing in from the Han River. The province plans to build a luxury hotel in this area with about 6,000 guest rooms, as part of its second-phase project of the complex.

"When connected with existing tourist attractions in Seoul, Hallyuwood will contribute a lot to attracting foreign tourists as well", said Shin Joong-hyun, vice president of Media View, a PR agency for the project.

Inside the complex will be the Hallyu IBC (International Business Center), Hallyu Content Support Center and Hallyu Museum, for which the province has set aside about 205 billion won. The Hallyu IBC will carry out the key role in research, education, management and exchange of cultural content, while the support center, a 25-story building, will be in charge of the production and distribution.

The museum, along with various other tourist facilities in the complex, such as the Star Village and the Street of Hallyu Stars, will provide a full package of fun that a fan of Korean film, television drama or pop music can ever expect.

"We have already finished administrative preparations for the project. We have purchased the land and broken the ground", Governor Sohn said. "From now, we are going to push for the project in earnest, first by selecting a consortium to take charge of the construction procedures".

The province will select a priority negotiator on March 11 and a final contractor on April 14. The chance to join the partnership for the project is open for both local and foreign business corporations.


Source : Hancinema