South Koreans love Kiwi Skyline luge

Kiwi tourism operator Skyline Enterprises has expanded into South Korea, opening of a $20 million luge development.

The project in Tongyeong City is believed to be the biggest direct capital investment by a New Zealand company in South Korea.

It features the world's second-longest luge track, at a length of 1.5 kilometres. The complex will eventually feature up to six tracks, although just one has been completed so far. A detachable five-seater chairlift and two terminals are also planned.

Skyline executive chairman Mark Quickfall says the new development is an important milestone in the company's history.

"Skyline created the world's first luge cart on wheels almost 35 years ago and we are immensely proud that it has become a global tourism success."

Government and Tongyeong city officials joined with residents at the new Skyline Luge site to celebrate the official opening of the complex.

However, the public has been able to test out the facility for the last two months, with 216,000 people riding the luge since its soft launch in February.

New Zealand's ambassador to South Korea, Clare Fearnley, says she's pleased to see the large investment by a Kiwi company.

"It's great that we're seeing a bit of Kiwi culture through adventure tourism reflected here in Tongyeong in southern Korea. It's clearly proving very popular."

Tongyeong is a domestic tourism hotspot in South Korea.  Skyline's new luge development is located just below the city's popular Hallyeosudo Landscape Cable Car, which attracts more than a million visitors a year.

The company currently has gondola and luge operations in Queenstown and Rotorua, along with ventures in Canada and Singapore.