CHUNCHEON, Aug. 23 (Korea Bizwire) – Referred to as “Lake City” for its proximity to water, the city of Chuncheon in Gangwon Province is aiming to adopt a new moniker with its National Leisure Sports Festival to be held on August 25.
Chuncheon’s road to becoming a domestic hub of leisure sports is a winding one that reaches back to 1967, when the Uiam Dam was constructed nearby. The resulting benefit of the dam was the artificially created Uiam Lake in the heart of the city, a marketing ploy for city officials to attract sightseeing visitors.
As the years went by, a combination of various local regulations and shifting interests saw Chuncheon facing a growing dearth of visitors.
To counteract the downward trend, the city decided to rechristen itself as the “Leisure Sports City” and utilize its natural resources of mountains, lakes and rivers to present a new brand of tourism.
As the first step in its long-term goal, Chuncheon was accepted as a member of the World Leisure Association in 2004.
A year later, it was chosen as a host for both the 2010 World Leisure Games and the World Leisure Congress.
With 18,000 attendees from 76 countries, the success of these initiatives was a manifestation of how far the city had come.
Since then, the city has hosted a biennial leisure sports festival with attendees from over 30 countries.
The festival on August 25 will be a radical departure from the previous incarnations of the event by featuring amateurs as well as professionals.
Ever since the 2010 World Leisure Games, the city has struggled with maintaining a sufficient revenue stream after investing 12 billion won in the event.
In particular, the city invested 100 billion won to develop Songam Sports Town, which stood nearly empty throughout the year.
Faced with the possibility of closing down the facilities and subsequently the “Leisure Sports City” dream, the city once more had to improvise.
The National Leisure Sports Festival will have drastically enlarged programs for children, young adults and hobbyists.
There will be eight types of games: extreme sports, Latin dance, inline skating, drone racing, water skiing, wall climbing, ice hockey and Grand Prix car racing.
Besides the planned games, attendees will also be treated to a diversity of activities. General water sports and games, VR-themed activities and a nighttime “glow show” event will be part of the festival.
The festival will be the first domestic only event of its kind. Over 2,000 are expected to attend the games held at Songam Sports Town from August 25 to 27.