South Korea’s first major integrated resort casino is enjoying healthy visitation since its opening this April, at least, healthy according to its operators.
South Korean foreigners-only casino operator Paradise Co Ltd opened Paradise City, the nation’s first major integrated resort, in April this year. The success of the launch has remained unquantifiable, at least, until late last week.
On Friday, a Paradise City spokesperson informed local media outlet Chosun Ilbo that the new resort in the Incheon region had welcomed over 310k visitors to its casino, hotel and convention space. Kye Jung-hyun said “about 90% of hotel rooms have been occupied” since the property’s grand opening on April 20.
Jung-hyun emphasized that the resort’s second phase was only “55% finished,” and that visitation would ramp up once the property was completed sometime in H1 2018. Paradise had projected its resort would welcome 1.5m guests in 2017, meaning there’s significant ground to be made up by year’s end if that goal is to be attained.
Paradise City’s relatively underwhelming performance to date can at least be party blamed on the fact that the property was conceived at a time when South Korea’s relationship with China – a primary source of the nation’s foreigners-only casino industry – was on far better terms than it is now.
A diplomatic spat involving the deployment of a US missile system on South Korean territory prompted Beijing to curtail group tourism to the South Korean peninsula this spring. Figures released last week by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) showed Chinese visitation to South Korea falling 66.4% in the month of June, with total visitation over the first half of 2017 down 41% from the same period last year.
South Korea has reportedly attempted to make up the Chinese shortfall by ramping up its marketing efforts aimed at other countries in the region, but North Korea’s ongoing belligerence appears to be nipping these efforts in the bud. Japanese visitors to South Korea have fallen for the past three months, while visitors from other Southeast Asian countries were also down in June except Malaysia and Vietnam.