South Korea says to approve two more casino resorts this year

Chinese tourists enter Paradise Casino inside the Jeju Grand Hotel in Jeju, South Korea, on March 16, 2014. South Korea said on Sunday, Jan 18, 2015, that it will approve two more casino resorts and the building of around 5,000 new hotel rooms t
Chinese tourists enter Paradise Casino inside the Jeju Grand Hotel in Jeju, South Korea, on March 16, 2014. South Korea said on Sunday, Jan 18, 2015, that it will approve two more casino resorts and the building of around 5,000 new hotel rooms this year, hoping to boost tourism investment by around 3.5 trillion won (S$4.3 billion). -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea said on Sunday it will approve two more casino resorts and the building of around 5,000 new hotel rooms this year, hoping to boost tourism investment by around 3.5 trillion won (S$4.3 billion).

The government would choose operators to invest around one trillion won each in two integrated resorts with foreigner-only casinos by the second half of this year, part of a three-year plan to boost the economy, it said in a statement.

South Korea has already approved a consortium of US-based Caesars Entertainment Corp and Lippo Ltd as well as a joint venture of local player Paradise Co Ltd and Japan's Sega Sammy Holdings Inc to build two casino resorts in Incheon, west of Seoul.

A consortium of Genting Singapore PLC and Landing International Development Ltd is also seeking to break ground for an integrated resort project on the Chinese tourist hot spot island of Jeju.

The government also said it expected an additional 300 billion won of investment in four new duty free stores. Three will be in Seoul, one on Jeju.

South Korea's 16 downtown duty free shops have seen their revenue rise from 3 trillion won in 2011 to 4.4 trillion won between January and October last year.

The number of Chinese tourists to South Korea grew nearly 41 percent in 2014, according to the Korea Tourism Organisation.