Cheju Island, South Korea


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Cheju Island

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Sustainable Tourism 
 Green Infrastructure Development
Cheju Island Being Developed as a 
Free International City
View of Cheju's Coastline. Adapted from Cheju.Net
Dr. J. Michael Cobb
CitiDesign / IDC
International Development Consultants, LLC
Cheju Island: 
A New Free International City

The Korean government is proposing to develop Cheju Island, (also often translated into in English as Jeju Island) into East Asia's premier investment center for tourism, logistics and finance in the new 21st century.

Designated as a "Free International City", Cheju will have unique attractions distinct from such existing international cities as Singapore and Hong Kong. With a focus on openness and globalism, Cheju will insure the free movement of people, goods and capital in East Asia.  The strongest support will be provided for corporate growth and development functions by the government's efforts to insure maximum relaxation of business, travel and investment regulations and restrictions.

Cheju Island: A Brief Overview

Cheju-do, the largest and most southern of South Korea's islands, has many similarities with Hawaii, including black volcanic lava rock, steep cliffs, beautiful beaches, rich farmland and unique aquamarine coastal waters. Once named by Newsweek magazine as one of the 10 most unspoiled tourist paradises in the world, Cheju is only an hour's flight from Seoul and is an especially favorite destination for Korean and Japanese vacationers. 

As outlined in the Korean government's new plans and proposals, major investments are underway to further develop Cheju while also maintaining and protecting the unique cultural and environmental resources of the island and its inhabitants.

As can be found in following the links below, Cheju's also plays a unique and central role as part of South Korea's national as well as Asia-wide regional development strategy. 

Dr. J. Michael Cobb's Cheju Involvement

While working with Bechtel, a major international development corporation, Dr. Cobb led the company's marketing effort with national and local governmental and industry officials in Seoul and on Cheju Island, which resulted in securing the company's initial development and investment programming contract for Cheju Province. 

Dr. Cobb also served as initial project manager for Cheju Island land development and finance strategies addressing: international market assessment for tourism, banking and commercial expansion; sustainable tourism facilities development-expansion planning; economic development public-private finance initiatives; island-wide infrastructure and transportation upgrading; and management programming for project implementation.

Based on earlier recommendations relating to Bechtel International’s strategic development plan formulated in 1988, the government of South Korea ultimately  provided the legal basis for establishing Cheju Island as an “international city”.  

Ratified in March 2002, the Special Act on Cheju Free International City provides for the establishment of “institutional provisions…to ensure freedom of movement of people, commodities and capital…” The act goes on to insure that the island has been grant authority to guarantee to the maximum limit the ability to accommodate the needs of the “international investment” community. 

Specifically, the act also states that the provincial government has the authority “… to foster and develop Cheju-do into an international tourist and recreation city as well as an international free city performing the complex functions such as business, high-technology, distribution and financial industry…”and focusing “…on matters concerning the promotion of international exchanges and cooperation. 

Also, one of the major unique components of the act designates Cheju-do as the "Island of World Peace" especially focusing on creating a venue and forum for promoting dialogue relating to regional and world peace issues and solutions.


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