Posted : 2012-11-01 19:30
Updated : 2012-11-01 19:30

Gangnam jockeying for center of 'hallyu' tourism

By Kim Rahn

A street in southern Seoul will be transformed into the center of "hallyu," with facilities to be set up to promote Korean Wave stars and provide fans with more chances to experience Korea's pop culture.

Officials of the Gangnam-gu Office said Thursday the southern Seoul district will form a "Hallyu Star Street" in Cheongdam-dong as part of efforts to attract more foreign tourists.

The district has been previously famous for being the magnet of trendy fashion and beauty therapies. Recently, it has become apparent that a growing number of patrons visit the district for the additional purpose of seeing the myriad of entertainment agencies clustered there, notwithstanding the limited chances of encountering hallyu stars. There are more than 150 agencies in Gangnam.

"The trend has been bolstered by the sensation of Psy's Gangnam Style, and we are receiving scores of inquiries from foreigners about arranging tours to the district. With the street, we hope Gangnam will become the center of hallyu tourism," a district official said.

From the end of this year to 2015, the office plans to set up various facilities along the 1.08-kilometer-long curved street running from SM Entertainment headquarters to Cheongdam intersection and from the intersection to JYP Entertainment building.

Girls' Generation is a girl group of SM Entertainment. Gangnam District in southern Seoul will designate "Hallyu Star Street" in Cheongdam-dong which starts from the entertainment agency's headquarters. The pop group is also Gangnam's publicity ambassador. / Courtesy of Gangnam-gu Office

As a first step, it will establish a statue symbolizing the Hallyu Star Street in front of SM Entertainment, the starting point of the street. "It can be a statue of some stars or an abstract image of Korean Wave. We haven't decided yet, but intend to erect it within this year," the official said.

For the second stage next year, a section of the street will have special paving stones with stars' handprints on them, like Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

In five alleys of the district, stars' photos will be posted on boards on the wall and fans can leave their messages for their favorite entertainers on them.

"Information poles" will be also set up along the street. Similar to those in Gangnam Station area, the poles with screens will offer a map of the area, information about Korean entertainers and tourist attractions in the district and nearby. The ward office will set up five of the poles first and build more if needed.

SM Entertainment, the agency for Super Junior, will see its head office become the starting point for the "Hallyu Star Street" in Gangnam, southern Seoul. / Courtesy of Gangnam-gu Office

Large screens called "Media Facade" will be set up on the outer walls of several buildings at the corner on the Cheongdam intersection. "In the section, we want to create the image of electronic signs and screens like at Times Square in New York. Singers' music videos and other promotional video clips of stars will be shown there too," the official said.

A "Hallyu Square" will also be designated at the end of the street facing the JYP Entertainment building, where concerts and other performances can be presented on a small-scale stage.

As the third step, the district office plans to link the Hallyu Star Street with nearby tourist areas of Apgujeong-dong and Garosu-gil, which are accessible from the street on foot.

It is constructing a tourist information center near Apgujeong Station, scheduled to be opened in February. The center will offer information about hallyu stars as well as medical tourism, which has also become popular in Gangnam where more than half of Seoul's plastic surgery and skin care clinics are located.

Expanding the hallyu tour to other types of tourism is the final stage of the plan. The ward office will design three tour routes under three different themes: a Korea Fashion Street, a Beauty and Well-being Street and a Green Tour Line.

The hallyu street will be parts of the fashion street that is stretched to the east wing of Galleria Department Store. Flagship stores of luxury name brands are on the fashion street.

The beauty street route includes restaurants in Garosu-gil and nearby beauty clinics. The green route features Dosan Park.

"We estimate a range of between 10 billion won to 20 billion won for the whole project. We'll seek private investors and state subsidies for this," the official said.

관련 한글 기사

강남구, 한류스타거리 조성 추진

문화·관광 각분야 전문가에게 의견 수렴 / 국제관광도시로의 도약 초읽기 강남구(구청장 신연희)는 지난 22일 내·외국인 관광객 유치 활성화를 위하여 문화·관광 등 각계 전문가로부터 한류스타거리 조성에 대한 의견을 수렴하였다.

한류스타거리는 압구정동 SM엔터테인먼트에서 청담동 큐브엔터테인먼트까지 약1.08㎞구간으로 조성될 예정이며 전세계적으로 불고 있는 한류열풍을 확산시키고, 다양화와 지속성을 도모하여 강남을 한류 관광의 구심점으로 만들고자 강남구에서 역점으로 추진하는 사업이다.

이번 용역결과에 따라 한류스타거리는 올해부터 연도별 4단계 사업으로 조성되는데 먼저, 1단계는 한류스타거리의 상징성을 나타낼 수 있는 조형물을 상징성, 유지관리, 접근성에 최적의 장소인 한류스타거리 시작점인 SM엔터테인먼트 앞에 설치한다.

2단계는 한류스타거리의 활성화를 위하여 거리미관을 저해하는 간판 정비 후 미디어 월을 설치하고 인포메이션 폴(미디어폴) 및 바닥 핸드프린팅 등 가로시설물을 설치할 예정이며, 3단계는 관광정보센터와 연계한 의료관광서비스 안내 등 한류스타거리 컨텐츠를 확대하는 단계로서 관광정보센터와 한류스타거리 사이 동선의 결절점에 인포메이션 폴 및 공중데크를 설치하는 등 지역사회의 참여를 유도할 수 있는 컨텐츠 인프라를 구축하고, 마지막단계는 한류스타거리의 확장 및 활성화를 위하여 KFS(Korea Fashion Street), WBS(Well-being Beauty Street), GTL(Green Tour Line) 3가지 테마별 관광동선을 조성하며 이를 통해 한류스타거리에서 로데오거리, 가로수 길까지 연계하는 동선의 확장을 꾀할 계획이다.

최근 싸이의 '강남스타일'로 인해 강남구에 전세계적인 관심이 집중되어 해외 주요방송사의 촬영 요청과 강남을 방문하고 싶어하는 외국인들의 문의가 쏟아지고 있는데, 이에 발맞춰 한류열풍이 관광열풍으로 이어질 수 있도록 박차를 가하기 위해서라도 한류스타거리 조성은 더욱 시기 적절한 관광사업이 아닐 수 없다.

구관계자는 '한류스타거리 조성은 현재 많은 비용이 소요되고 여러 규제로 인하여 추진에 어려움이 있으나 천만관광객을 눈앞에 둔 국가적 차원에서 반드시 필요한 사업이다'라고 밝히며, '한류스타거리는 공공기관 및 지역사회의 협조를 통해 중장기적 계획에 따라 순차적으로 진행될 예정이며 올해는 한류스타거리의 시작을 알리는 상징물을 설치하고 다음연도부터 중장기적 계획에 따라 순차적으로 진행할 계획이다'라고 말했다. (연합뉴스)

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