Kumgang contracts with foreign companies

Kumgang resort goes international
Emerson Pacific Group, a Korean company that is now building a golf and spa resort at North Korea’s Mount Kumgang, said yesterday that it had reached an agreement with a British resort operator to co-manage those facilities.

A spokeswoman for Emerson Pacific said that her company would be responsible for development planning for the resort and fund it entirely; the British company, General Hotel Marketing, would oversee the resort’s construction and interior design, operating systems, staff training and global marketing. General Hotel Management operates 16 resorts around the world, including at Langkawi and Bali in Asia.

The agreement gives an international polish to the formerly inter-Korean project to develop tourism at Mount Kumgang, widely acclaimed from antiquity as the Korean Peninsula’s most scenic area.

Ralf W. Ohletz, the executive vice president of General Hotel Management, told the press yesterday that he was convinced that the resort “has the potential to become a global-scale tourist attraction.” He added that the locale ― North Korea ― made the project both challenging and attractive.

Emerson said it would spend about 80 billion won ($85 million) on the resort, which is scheduled to open next year. It is already selling memberships in the golf course there for 17 million won each.

Hyundai Asan, which is the overall operator of the tourism project at Mount Kumgang, said yesterday that the beach there will be open for swimming and picnicking beginning Saturday.

The tour operator also said the Oegeumgang Hotel, on the mountains’ eastern slope, has been remodeled and will be open on July 11. The 11-story building, with 179 rooms, was formerly a retreat for senior North Korean officials. 


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