Korean entrepreneur wins cable car project in Kandy

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 25 2020

A Korean entrepreneur has won the business rights to a cable car project in Kandy – home of the Temple of the Tooth Relic, which is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world.

Entrepreneur is 71-year-old Sky Asia Chairman Yoo Sun-ha.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction will begin next year and the cable car service is expected to be functional by the end of 2022. It will run for 2.2 kilometres between downtown Kandy and the Hantana Mountains. The project envisages an investment of US$ 35 million. “I met several Ministers in Sri Lanka by chance in 2012. At that time I did not speak fluent English”, Yoo said during the interview with The Korea Herald on Friday. “They kept saying something about Kandy Municipal Council. I thought they were talking about candy, not Kandy.”

The Sri Lankan officials offered Yoo multiple places to invest in Sri Lanka, including Kandy. At the time, he was in charge of setting up Korea’s first maritime cable car service in the Southern port city of Yeosu. “The most important factor in the cable car business is the number of tourists,” Yoo said. “How many tourists annually visit where I want to build a cable car and does this number vary each month? It has to be over at least 2.5 million (a year).” Located in the middle of Sri Lanka, Kandy is one of the biggest tourist cities in the South Asian country. The entire city was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1988. It sees an average of 5 million visitors per year.

The number of visitors to Kandy’s most famous tourist attraction, the Royal Botanical Gardens, is around 2 million annually. The proportion of foreign tourists is measured at only 12 per cent, according to Yoo’s on-site research. That is why the Sky Asia Chairman is not fazed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Buddhism is the main religion in Sri Lanka and the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy is one of the must-visit sites,” he said. “Revitalising Sri Lanka’s domestic economy runs through the sacred places of Buddhism.”

- The Korea Herald

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 25 2020

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