Three firms from South Korea are eyeing projects in the Primorye gambling zone in Russia’s far east, with Summit Ascent, the region’s only existing operator, predicting benefits from a “cluster effect” by 2021.
The zone is considered the most viable of Russia’s gambling regions due to its close proximity to the North Asian markets, in particular Northern China. Tourism numbers have been increasing at about 33 percent a year for the past five years, helped by improved connectivity and an easing of visa restrictions for Chinese visitors. There were 50 percent more direct flights operating in the first half of last year than in the same period of 2017.
Ramid Hotels & Resorts, which has a portfolio of large hotel complexes, such as the Ramada Seoul Hotel, in January reaffirmed its interest in building a golf course and a casino in the zone.
The company’s president, Mun Ben-Uk, said at the time: “I have led a company that has been building golf clubs and hotels for 30 years. For five months we have been working on projects that we are going to implement in Primorye, we have already looked at the land plots, we have seen the project to create a residential complex in Closed City Fokino. We want to get to work as soon as possible.”
Other Koreans to show interest were Dongnam Industry, which said it is planning to invest about $30 million into the construction of a golf course in the Primorye gambling zone.
The company has signed the respective agreements with the Primorye Development Corporation.
“The Primorye integrated resort can attract a large number of tourists in the future due to transport accessibility and the growing interest in the Far East from residents of the Asia-Pacific countries. Creating elite entertainment facilities will help attract relevant tourists to the gambling zone. For our project, the main target audience is foreign players from Korea and Japan, where golf is a very popular sport and entertainment,” the company’s chairman Kim Ying-Tae was quoted as saying.
In partnership with a Russian company, his firm plans to build a 9-hole golf course and a clubhouse in the first year after it gets the right to rent the land lot. The second stage will involve the construction of a 4-star hotel for 100 rooms and the addition of 9 more holes to the golf course. It is expected to spread over 80 hectares.
K International is the third group, which last year said it wants to build a $263.6-million hotel and entertainment complex. The resort would include the hotel, a casino, a shopping center and a duty-free zone to the area and would be built on a 49-acre parcel of land.
After years of slow progress, development of the zone appears now to be picking up. Summit Ascent, which operates the Tigre de Cristal resort, said recently that it has seen an acceleration in activity amongst other investors in Primorye.
For 2018, Summit Ascent said adjusted property EBITDA generated by its Oriental Regent unit, which operates the IR, rose by 4 percent to HK$181.4 million, with a jump of 26 percent in its mass business.
The company said it was pushing ahead with the construction of villas and serviced apartments to increase capacity.
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