“First is the military, the second is the military, and the third is the military.”
Seo Heung-won (58, the power of the people) Yanggu-gun (8th civil election) did not let go of the word “for the people” throughout the interview.
The number of residents in Yanggu, which he cares about, has now fallen to about 22,000. Yanggu-gun is the least populous local government in Gangwon-do. It has a strong image as a border military city, but over the past three years, as the 2nd Division was disbanded in accordance with ‘Defense Reform 2.0’, about 5,600 soldiers left Yanggu. As the troops withdrew, the number of visitors, an important source of consumption, also decreased significantly. Yanggu-gun estimates the resulting economic loss at 93 billion won per year.
It is the sports marketing business that puts more spur to the recovery of the local economy. In the meantime, Yanggu-gun has been looking for a way to survive through sports marketing in the face of population decline and the crisis of regional extinction. The sports marketing business is a key policy of Yanggu-gun, which has led to an increase in the staying time of visitors (tourists) coming from outside the region. Through this, effects such as boosting consumption in the region, promotion and sales increase of agricultural special products, and improvement of city brand value can be expected.
The achievements that have already been made also shine. About 260,000 people visit Yanggu-gun every year to participate in various competitions and field training in Yanggu-gun, which has been aggressive in attracting competitions and field training across various events. The economic effect reaches 20 billion won per year. Yanggu-gun’s sports marketing has become a model for success and has become a model for local governments across the country beyond Gangwon-do.
Yanggu-gun, which does not rest on its laurels, has made improvements so that more than 20-30% of the hosting expenses for the tournament can be spent within the county, and has a local economic effect by operating marketing programs outside of the game, such as workshops for players and parents of their children, and field trips to tourist attractions. We also made a plan to further increase it. It is expected to revitalize the local economy by providing high-quality sports infrastructure through reinforcement and new construction of various facilities and attracting various competitions and field training teams.
Last year, with the start of his term as county governor Seo Heung-won, the Military Sports Foundation (Chairman Seo Heung-won, county governor) was also launched. It is preparation to achieve the goal by promoting it more systematically, more professionally, and more quickly. The Military Sports Foundation develops sports marketing promotion policies, holds sports competitions, attracts field training teams, sports marketing projects to revitalize the local economy, manages and operates sports facilities in the region, and attracts and supports international competitions. Yanggu-gun plans to enhance the value of Yanggu-gun and maximize the promotional effect by operating a program that combines tourism with the existing sports marketing business.
Heung-Won Seo, the county governor, personally visited Yanggu-gun to learn more about sports marketing, which is the pride and future of Yanggu-gun.
Q: Sports marketing has become the main business and success model of Yanggu-gun. It is evaluated that the ripple effect such as economic effect is large. Please introduce the sports marketing business of Yanggu-gun to other local residents beyond Yanggu-gun.
A:Isn’t Yanggu-gun actually a military city? So far, the economy has been too dependent on the military. Three years ago, there were two divisions, but one division was withdrawn in accordance with Defense Reform 2.0. One division remains, and it is the ‘Barbed Wire Division’. In reality, they cannot become the main force of consumption. Now soldiers have no questions about the outside world as they open their cell phones. As a result, it did not come out well, and the number of visitors greatly decreased. Yanggu County can no longer survive by relying on military units. Local governments in the border area needed new alternatives to overcome the economic stagnation due to the military-dependent economic structure and population decline.
But there are things we do well. He has abundant know-how related to the sports marketing business that he has been doing for more than 20 years. Better than any local government. Recently, several local governments are promoting sports marketing as one of the measures to revitalize the local economy, but our Yanggu-gun has been active in sports marketing as a measure to revitalize the local economy for a long time. It is proud that it has already established some image and status as a sports city. In terms of human network and infrastructure, I think it would be in the top 5 in Korea.
If you make good use of these things, you can expect to improve the performance of each event in Korea, and it can be of great help to revitalize our local economy. Last year, the ROK military hosted 108 sports competitions and 77 field training teams, visited Yanggu by 260,000 people, and achieved an economic effect of about 18.6 billion won.
Sports marketing, which is contributing greatly to the local economy, will be further strengthened this year. That is why the Yanggu-gun Sports Foundation was launched. The foundation is promoting more systematic and active sports marketing, and is aiming to attract 110 sports competitions and 100 field training teams this year.
When various associations or federations hold sports competitions, they make agreements so that 20 to 30% of the total cost can be used by local companies to hold the competitions. Competitions with a large ripple effect on the local economy will pursue multi-year contracts. We plan to attract and establish various international and national competitions.
In September of this year, the ’31st Gangwon-do Citizens Sports Festival’ will be held in Yanggu-gun for the first time in 18 years. We will do our best to help the local economy by steadily preparing for inspection and improvement of sports facilities and accommodations. We will promote sports marketing in connection with tourism so that not only athletes participating in the games, but also their families and officials will visit tourist attractions in Yanggu.
Q: Many local governments are trying to attract off-campus training in Gangwon-do. Why should Yanggu be chosen as the field training ground among many regions? I would like to introduce the strengths and charms of Yanggu-gun as a field training ground. In addition, please tell us if there are things that need to be supported to activate the field training center attraction project.
A:Our military has been working steadily for sports marketing for over 20 years. In the meantime, with the establishment of sports facility infrastructure and sports marketing know-how, we have done our best to help players visiting Yanggu hone their skills and display them without any inconvenience. Now, in order to further promote the attraction of off-campus training, we plan to prepare and provide various support measures, such as training ground installation costs, lodging costs, and snack costs, for off-campus training teams.
In order to take a step forward as a sports city, we plan to invigorate the local economy by actively attracting activities by establishing a sports facility base and improving facilities. Establishment of Yanggu Sports Town, comprehensive sports park consisting of baseball and soccer fields, 2nd indoor tennis court, training center to be used as a warm-up place for field training teams, and tennis courts exclusively for business teams, etc. We plan to provide the best sports infrastructure to the players.
Another attraction that cannot be overlooked is that it is an area with the highest oxygen concentration in Korea. Yanggu has the highest concentration of oxygen in the air at around 23% in the country. If you have to compare it, it’s the same oxygen concentration as the tropical rain forest area in the Amazon. The air is clearer than any other region in Korea, so copycats such as “You will become 10 years younger when you come to Yanggu” and “Youth Yanggu” are being put up.
The sports marketing staff who support the administration are really, really good at it. It is said that each sports association or officials are very satisfied. Our sports marketing staff work without weekends or holidays, which is unfortunate and heartbreaking as the military governor. We need to find a way to do it for them. On the one hand, it is very encouraging to Yanggu-gun that the motivation to work so hard is clear.
It is true that there are difficulties in attracting activities as the cost of attracting off-campus training has skyrocketed as many local governments have recently jumped into sports marketing competitively. Administrative power alone has limits. You should be prepared to be greeted really friendly and clean by representatives of the local population and related industries. That way, I can plant a warm and positive image of Yanggu-gun to everyone who visits Yanggu, and I think there will be a greater synergy effect than now.
Q: I understand that you are implementing and envisioning convergence projects with tourism along with sports marketing, such as attracting off-campus training. As part of that, they are currently accelerating the promotion of the Korean peninsula island project. Please explain the project.
A: In Yanggu, there are travel destinations with beautiful nature and art, such as Yanggu Arboretum, Korean Peninsula Island, Flower Island, Park Soo-geun Museum of Art, and White Porcelain Museum. This year, we will further upgrade these tourist destinations to create a ‘healing tourism platform’ with a clean image so that everyone who comes to Yanggu can be satisfied.
Speaking of the Korean Peninsula Island project, which is being pushed forward vigorously this year, the Korean Peninsula Island is an artificial island in the shape of the Korean Peninsula created in 2007 in the size of 270,000 square meters in the Paro Lake artificial wetland of 1.65 million square meters. Even Jeju Island, Dokdo, and Ulleungdo were reproduced as they were. The mainland and the island are connected by a wooden deck road, so it is a favorite place for tourists who want to enjoy a walk while feeling the river breeze.
Last year, a 5,000㎡ Mugunghwa Garden was created on the Korean Peninsula so that you can see various varieties of Mugunghwa. The water around the island is clean, so you can enjoy canoeing.
We are preparing more projects to install Sky Forest aerial bicycles that cycle around the Korean Peninsula along rails installed in the air, sky walks that provide a panoramic view of Lake Paro, and kids play zones for children. Construction is expected to be completed by June of this year, and full-scale operation will begin in July. Anyone can see that Yanggu-gun, a symbol of peace, is likely to receive the most attention in Korea. It is also a good place to take pictures with the islands of the Korean Peninsula in the background.
When the railroad opens in 2027, it will take 63 minutes from Yongsan, Seoul to Yanggu Station. it’s an hour At that time, Yanggu-gun entered the metropolitan area. More people than now will come and enjoy and relax.
Q: You were elected with even support from the military and the people. As the first non-public official in Yanggu-gun, who has accumulated experience in various fields, such as serving as the chairman of the Yanggu New온라인바카라 Cooperative Federation and the chairman of the Yanggu-gun Sports Council, I would like to hear what he wants to achieve in the field of sports as well as sports during his term.
A: First of all, I would like to express my gratitude once again to the military and citizens who have sent a lot of support. I know very well what your expectations and aspirations are. There is only one reason you chose me. stimulating the local economy For 40 years, I started a business, did business, took responsibility for the economy, and also served as the head of a sports group. We are incorporating many of these experiences into our administration.
The administration should be active for the people. When a local resident named A made a request, as before, he said “no”. But now it is becoming an administration that explains why we can’t do it and finds alternatives on how to solve it. Our public servants handle these things so well that I am very satisfied as the county governor. Employees who work hard will be given clear incentives.
And when a new governor comes in, the trend is to change all the items in the office, but I didn’t. The right policy that Yanggu-gun has been pursuing should not be shaken abruptly just because the county head has changed. From the point of view of realism, the good things have to be continued, and the fatal parts have to be touched.
The goal to achieve is to revitalize the local economy that the people can actually feel. During the many years I have lived as a citizen of Yanggu, I have heard and felt countless stories about what the people want from all over the community and how Yanggu should develop.
While the entire Republic of Korea is facing economic difficulties, the reality is that Yanggu is also experiencing many difficulties due to continuous population decline and defense reform. As mentioned earlier, while considering and promoting the planned policies and pledges from the point of view of the citizens, such as strengthening sports marketing, which is the main business of Yanggu-gun, and creating jobs through the creation of agricultural industrial complexes using idle land of military bases, I will do my best so that you can hear people say, ‘I’m getting better’ and ‘Yanggu, I really enjoy living’.
I emphasize again, but the most important regional economy revitalization will be accomplished through the convergence of sports marketing and tourism. Rather than simply focusing on increasing the number of tourists, it is necessary to set up sharp strategies on how to increase the stay time or boost actual consumption. Hosting off-campus training requires longer stay times and days, and the cost of spending is unusual. It is an industry with large consumption power. In Yanggu, there are base effects that stimulate other related industries as well as accommodation for small business owners.
As I said in my inauguration address, the first, second and third are the military and the citizens. All policies and all directions of military government will be decided and determined from the perspective of the military and the people. While maintaining such a goal and attitude, we will do our best to revitalize the local economy and increase the brand value as a sports tourism city while devoting all our energy to sports marketing. I will definitely make it happen.