Thomas L. Williams
By Kim Rahn
A Universal Studio theme park in Korea will be distinctive in that it will include attractions featuring Korean films, said the head of the famous theme park operator.
Thomas L. Williams, chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts, expressed his hope to set up a Universal Studio theme park in Korea in an interview held during the 2007 Asia Pacific Tourism Investment Conference, Thursday.
He took part in the three-day event hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization in southern Seoul and delivered a keynote speech.
The U.S. company announced earlier this year that it plans to open a Universal Studio theme park here by 2012.
Regarding the distinctive characteristics of the park compared to the already established one in Osaka, Japan, which is very close to Korea, Williams cited the Korean film industry.
``The solution for how to make the Universal Studio Korea distinctive, unique and special is found very easily, which is to take advantage of the wonderful collection of Korean film products, to incorporate Korean culture and products along with products the Universal Studio has made for worldwide distribution,'' Williams said.
USK Property Holdings, which has exclusive rights to operate the theme park here, announced that the Korea Development Bank and Shinhan Bank will take part in the consortium to build the park, in which POSCO Engineering and Construction and Korea Investment and Securities are already participating.
Last weekend, Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo proposed USK Property Holdings establish the theme park in Gyeonggi Province during his visit to the U.S. Williams said there are a number of sites under consideration including the province, and a decision will be made by the end of this year.
He noted in his speech that Korea has seen a tourism deficit, and said the Universal Studio park will be able to help the country bring more people to Korea and reduce the number of Koreans going abroad for vacation. ``We'd like to be part of the process to reverse the current trend,'' he said.