Skyline Luge Tongyeong opened to the public last Friday, just 15 months after construction began. The complex – featuring up to six tracks, a detachable five-seater chairlift and two terminals – is located directly below the coastal city’s iconic Hallyeosudo Landscape Cable Car. Tongyeong is a domestic tourism hotspot and the cable car attracts more than 1 million visitors each year.
The Luge project is believed to be the largest direct capital investment in South Korea by a New Zealand company.
Thousands of people turned up for opening weekend, with sub-zero temperatures not deterring customers. Guests were quick to share their experiences on Facebook, Instagram, Naver Blog and Kakao, and videos shared by travel broadcasters Dingo Travel and Travel Factory viewed by 630,000 and 615,000 people respectively within 24 hours.
Skyline Enterprises Executive Chairman Mark Quickfall says the company is thrilled to be able to share the Skyline Luge concept with the people of Tongyeong and South Korea.
“This has been a very rewarding project, with many positive relationships formed with South Korea and Tongyeong City. We employ 50 people at Skyline Luge Tongyeong – with a further 50 employees expected – and we are delighted that this level of investment has been so well received by South Korea since early planning days,” he says.
Throughout the process, officials from South Korea travelled to New Zealand to visit Luge operations at Skyline Queenstown and Skyline Rotorua. NZ Trade and Enterprise has also been involved.
“Although new to Korea we know Korean guests love the Luge. This is based on numbers riding in the first week at Tongyeong and at our other sites. In fact, Korea provides the second-highest number of international riders at Skyline Luge Sentosa, in Singapore. For the first six days Skyline Luge Tongyeong has operated well ahead of our estimates, which bodes extremely well for the future of our new operation,” Quickfall adds.
Skyline Luge Tongyeong contains the world’s second-longest track, at 1.5km. One of the planned six tracks has been completed, with the remaining five due to be finished as demand requires.
An official opening with dignitaries and local and national government officials will take place at Skyline Luge Tongyeong in April.
Skyline General Manager International Luge Neville Nicholson managed the construction phase of the Tongyeong Luge and lived in Tongyeong during the process. Nicholson has more than 30 years’ experience with the Luge operations and development. Queenstown’s James Dudfield is the Skyline Luge Tongyeong General Manager after managing sites at Tremblant and Calgary.
“It has been a fantastic team effort and everyone involved in the project can be very proud,” Quickfall adds.
Skyline has been operating the Luge for more than 30 years in New Zealand. With sites operating in New Zealand, Canada and Singapore, the Skyline Luge Tongyeong will be Skyline’s 6th site.