Yeongjongdo the new Hamptons of Seoul
I retired from the US State Department in 2016 and chose to retire in Korea where my wife has family members. She also retired from service in the U.S. military. We bought an apartment in Yeongjongdo, the island that houses the Incheon International airport.
I am happy living in Yeongjongdo, it is truly one of the nicest communities in Korea. Peaceful, not too much traffic, cheaper than living in Seoul, great restaurants, shopping, including being close to COSTCO in Songdo, access to the beaches and mountains and close to the airport and easy to get into town by subway or driving. And it is becoming more cosmopolitan every day.
The Korean government has grandiose plans for the Yeongjongdo island – the home of the Incheon international airport.
They want to turn it into another Singapore. A more realistic option would be to turn it into the equivalent of the Hamptons, the fabled weekend getaway in NYC for the elite of the establishment.
Yeoungjongdo is well positioned to play such a role already. It is easy to get away from Seoul about a hour train ride from most parts of the city and with the expansion of the train service and lowering the excessive bridge toils due to come into effect this year it will be much easier to get away to the islands for the weekend and for several weeks during the summer months.
With the building of bridges to Muido (completed) Jangbo, Shindo, and Ganghwa islands in the works, the whole island could become a great get away for the elite and middle class of Seoul alike.
There are lots of restaurants, good shopping and hotels, great beaches, nice mountains, fresh air, good schools and affordable nice housing everywhere and it now has an international vibe – already becoming another Itaewon, the fabled international enclave in Seoul.
With the expansion of the MAGLEV train around the island transpiration will become even easier.
With the opening of the Casino resorts it will become a very popular weekend designation particularly if the Korean government figures out a way to let Koreans gamble – my suggestion let Koreans gamble once a week (for a 24 hour pass)with a lost limit of 500$ per visit. That will draw enough local residents to make the casino’s profitable but minimize the harmful effects of expanded gambling.
Finally the Korean government should market Yeoungjondo as the Hamptons of the East – enough people would get the reference to make that a popular add. And rename Unseo neighborhood as the New Itaewon and promote it as such. And another slogan could be come to Yeongjondo the best kept secret of Korea. These adds should run in all the major media outlets in the US especially in the NYT and Washington Post, CNN, WSJ etc and other international markets as well. and of course a sign at the airport “Welcome to Yeongjongdo Your Gateway to Korea”
If the Korean government does this it will have tremendous economic and social benefits for the residents of Yeongjongdo islands, as well as increase tourism to Korea.