UIJEONGBU, Oct. 20 (Korea Bizwire) – Local governments in Gyeonggi Province are reaping the rewards from transforming deserted places into cultural attractions.
According officials from the province and the city of Pocheon on October 20, deserted facilities that were revamped into cultural spaces include abandoned coal mines turned into a Cave Theme Park and Art Valley, an old U.S. military base-turned DMZ Experience Center, an old purification plant-turned Aqua Studio and others.
These facilities were reincarnated as local attractions to help revitalize regional economies with the number of visitors increasing every year.
The most profitable among them is the Cave Theme Park in the city of Gwangmyeong.
The site was developed as a mine for silver, copper, lead, and zinc in 1912 before it was disused in 1972. The city bought the old mine and adjacent land in order to turn it into a tourist attraction with rail-bikes, a 4D movie theater, and performance stages.
Since entrance fees were first charged in April 2015, the number of visitors has surpassed 3.3 million, including more than 1 million people who have visited just this year.
Art Valley in the city of Pocheon, since its opening in 2009, has seen its visitor numbers increasing every year, and its annual revenue has exceeded 1 billion won. The city invested 15.5 billion won into transforming the exhausted mine into a cultural art space of 140,743 square meters.
The area is famous for its scenic beauty with cliffs surrounding it like folding screens, and flanked by an artificial lake of 7,040 square meters.
As TV dramas such as “The Legend of the Blue Ocean” and “The Lover of the Moon” were filmed at the Art Valley, since the second half of last year the number of foreign visitors has been growing, reaching some 13,000 just for this year.
Gyeonggi Province is also benefitting a lot from DMZ Experience Center which was established in Camp Greaves, a disused U.S. military base located north of the Civilian Control Line (CCL).
Camp Greaves was the sole U.S. military base within the Civilian Control Line (CCL), but was abandoned after its normal operation from 1953 to 2004.
The Gyeonggi provincial government of remodeled an officer’s billet in the camp into the DMZ Experience Center, which is uniquely capable of supplying accommodation for students and civilians within the CCL, and offers national security, ecology and historical culture experiences.
“The Cave Theme Park, Art Valley, and Camp Greaves and others are popular in that all of the facilities are very accessible by ordinary people. Local governments are enjoying the benefits of killing two birds with one stone by turning old and decrepit facilities into tourist attractions” said an official from the provincial government.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)