Therme Group will be establishing a European resort at a yet undetermined waterfront location in the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ).
The company and IFEZ signed a mutual-cooperation agreement in Frankfurt on Thursday, where the Korean economic zone agency and Incheon are visiting to promote the city.
According to IFEZ on Friday, Therme Group plans to invest minimum $200 million in setting up the healing spa and resort in Incheon.
The company currently has four wellbeing resorts, in Germany and Romania, with others currently being constructed, including one in Manchester, scheduled for opening in 2023.
Therme Bucharest in Romania, which opened in 2016, is the largest thermal spa in Europe, with 1.2 million visitors a year.
One of the key attractions of Therme’s resort is its indoor dome, which includes a botanical garden aimed at creating an environment-friendly zone.
Therme Bucharest was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for its green building construction, which is a first for a wellness facility.
Pfungstadter, a German brewery that has been making beer since 1831, has agreed to invest in a brewery once a European-Korean culture town is established within IFEZ.
The German brewery also agreed to holding an Oktoberfest in Songdo.
Other German companies that signed agreements with the Korean free economic zone include ioTAL GmbH, a German start-up that created an air cargo logistics system using Internet-of-Thing (IoT) blockchain technology.
The German start-up will be working with Incheon International Airport Corp. and aviation companies in Incheon.
According to IFEZ, some 40 executives from 25 German companies attended the business promotion event held in Frankfurt headed by Incheon Metropolitan City Mayor Yoo Jeong-bok and IFEZ Commissioner Kim Jin-yong.
“I am glad that we have made progress that was more than what we had expected,” Yoo said. “The Therme Group’s healing spa and resort as well as the cooperation on IT and culture will be a huge help to the IFEZ not only in attracting tourists to Incheon but also in vitalizing the local economy and developing start-ups.”
“Based on such investments, we will continue to work on transforming Incheon city into a top-class city,” said IFEZ Commissioner Kim.
The business promotion trip to Germany was the first for both Mayor Yoo and Commissioner Kim since they took office this year.
Yoo became mayor after winning local elections in June, while Kim started his office in September.
This is the second term for Yoo and Kim. The Incheon mayor served the same position between 2016 and 2018, while the IFEZ commissioner served the same position between 2017 and 2019.
In a recent interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily, both the mayor and IFEZ commissioner has expressed their ambition in turning Incheon into a major global city, especially through their “New Hong Kong City” project, which is to attract major multinational institutions, especially those in finance and trade.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [[email protected]]