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Demise of Yeosu Expo Site?

What to do with the Expo site? An article from the JoongAng Daily entitled “Yeosu businesses fight to stay afloat months after the Expo” explores the issue. The article notes that the Yeosu city government wants to open the site by April 20th, but it doesn’t indicate what the area will be used for.

The worrying thing, as the article points out, is that the Yeosu Expo site will become an albatross around Yeosu’s neck, much as the Daejeon Expo site of 1993 has become for that city. To forestall the economic liability that the Expo site could become, the city government is trying to get private investors to buy the area, while local folks want the government to run the facility. However, the local government seems to refuse that idea:

The government’s firm stance on the plan comes from its bitter experience in dealing with the Daejeon Expo complex. What was once used as an amusement park and science-related tour facility after hosting the 1993 World Expo could not avoid mounting debts. It was eventually ordered by the Ministry of Safety and Public Administration to go into liquidation in 2008.

Daejeon, home to the 1993 World Expo, still suffers financial strain due to its failure to effectively manage the facilities that were built for the event.

Let’s hope that all parties involved can get this worked out; it’s a beautiful site on the harbor which has a lot of potential. But, of course, it seems that none of the entities that planned for the Expo looked this far into the post-Expo future.

In an article on the Huffington Post, “The Future of Yesterday: Photographs of Architectural Remains at World’s Fairs,” artist Ives Maes is quoted: “Everyone works in a frenzy to complete structures for a fair, and then they walk away when it’s over. We need to remember these buildings and these moments in time.” Hopefully, this doesn’t mean the demise of the Yeosu Expo site, a sad fate that the area doesn’t deserve.


  1. What’s going down seems to be a truly unfortunate situation, with how Yeosu is grappling with ways to successfully manage the Expo site. Go figure: they spent a lot of money to put that thing on (and probably took a big loss, given the efforts they made towards ensuring that they’d have a total of eight million visitors for the fair), yet now they are having trouble figuring out what they could do with it.
    It reminds me of what I’ve read about how other cities (that have hosted Worlds Fairs, and Olympics, and the like) have struggled with the costs after everything’s been finished, and have also had difficulty figuring out what to do with the gleaming facilities they built.
    It’s like the Beijing Olympic park, and how the people there spent billions of dollars (and tore down an untold number of old/historic buildings) on its Olympics facilities. Yes, it was a nice party, and the world’s attention was squarely on Beijing for that event, but, now that it’s done, its National Stadium sits largely empty. (The Water Cube, on the other hand, appears to have found a second life, as a water park.)
    On the other hand, Beijing did get several new subway lines out of the deal (which it needed), plus its airport ended up greatly improved. That, and I’ve heard that they got quite a few new hotels. So, even though the Bird’s Nest is, now, a white elephant, Beijing did come out ahead.
    And, look at Yeosu: it got a KTX station out of the deal, plus, while they were building the Expo site, I’d heard that they got other infrastructure improvements. Hopefully, then, they’ll find a way to make use of the Expo grounds themselves.

  2. montanaron

    April 10, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Right! Yeosu did get some nice infrastructure improvements, mainly sewage and water line improvements and new highways.

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