Mohegan INSPIRE Celebrates Grand Debut Bridging Worlds with a Spectacular Fusion of Cultures

Mar 6, 2024

[Incheon, South Korea] Mohegan INSPIRE Entertainment Resort hosted its grand opening celebration on Mar. 5 with around 500 domestic and international key figures in attendance. The day’s events marked a significant milestone for Mohegan INSPIRE, establishing itself as a premier resort, casino and entertainment destination in Asia.

Following its soft opening in late November of last year, Mohegan INSPIRE’s grand opening was celebrated with the presence of the Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, James Gessner Jr.; members of the Mohegan Council of Elders; Mohegan Chief Lynn Malerba; and Mohegan President and CEO, Ray Pineault, in addition to other Mohegan senior executives. Also in attendance were key South Korean and local government officials, including Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Yu In-chon, Incheon Mayor Yoo Jeong-bok, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Philip Goldberg, Incheon International Airport Corporation President Lee Hak-jae, as well as INSPIRE partner companies and local and international press.

Hosted within the Rotunda—a versatile hub at the heart of INSPIRE—and the INSPIRE Ballroom, Korea's most expansive hotel ballroom, the event, themed “Invitation to INSPIRE: The Joining of Two Cultures,” captivated guests with an extraordinary array of programs and performances. This affair intertwined the rich heritage of Mohegan culture with the dynamic, global appeal of K-Culture, leaving a lasting impression on all guests.

“The grand opening of INSPIRE is a momentous occasion for Mohegan, making both a historic partnership for our tribe and elevating our global network of resorts to unprecedented heights,” said James Gessner Jr., chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council. “I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to the South Korean government for the opportunity to bring our vision to life in such a vibrant country and for the unyielding support of the Mohegan Tribe, as well as to the many individuals who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes.”

The first part of the ribbon cutting included a traditional Mohegan smudge ceremony led by Chairman Gessner and Council of Elders Chairman Charlie Strickland as way of providing positive and good energy. The event continued with a special performance by Unity of Nations, a Mohegan drum group, who performed an “Honor Song” to celebrate the meeting of the two cultures and the unity of the community.  The evening progressed with a showcase by an up-and-coming Korean music group to honor INSPIRE’s ambitious journey to elevating Asia’s entertainment landscape. Following, key Mohegan and INSPIRE leaders shared insightful addresses before the grand opening began a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, marking the new beginning.

“Our journey here has been guided by the Spirit of Aquai, Mohegan’s guiding principle that emphasizes hospitality, mutual respect, collaboration and relationship building,” said Ray Pineault, President and CEO of Mohegan. “This ethos is woven into the fabric of INSPIRE, reflecting our commitment to sustainability, community engagement and creating a space that respects the environment and fosters connections between people from all walks of life. Mohegan INSPIRE is poised to become a landmark destination and a catalyst for tourism, economic growth, and cultural exchanges, enhancing the region’s allure to visitors from across the globe.”

INSPIRE is continuing to mark this occasion with a month-long celebration. Kicking off with the INSPIRE Salute featuring global K-pop icons PSY and Taeyang on Mar. 2, the festivities will then welcome the international sensation Maroon 5 to the INSPIRE Arena for electrifying performances on Mar. 8 and 9. The excitement continues on Mar. 16 with an exceptional encore concert by Epik High, Korea's premier alternative hip-hop ensemble, commemorating two decades of their influential music. The spectacle concludes from Mar. 27 to 31 with the debut of the WTT Champions Incheon, bringing together the elite of global table tennis competition.

Following the traditional ribbon-cutting, parties celebrated the symphony of both cultures. Initiated with a Mohegan prayer ceremony by the Mohegan Tribal Chief, Lynn Malerba, it seamlessly transitioned into a toast by Chairman Gessner. A captivating time-lapse video then chronicled the INSPIRE project's evolution, setting the stage for a series of enthralling performances; a Mohegan drum ensemble, a mesmerizing act by a Korean a cappella group and spellbinding magic performances, spotlighting the rich tapestry of cultural harmony showcased throughout the evening.

“It’s a thrill to see this wonderful journey made possible by the dedication of all INSPIRE employees and the relentless support of the Mohegan Tribe,” said Chen Si, president of INSPIRE. “I am also grateful to all government agencies, communities and partners for their steadfast commitment throughout the project's development. INSPIRE will set a new standard for resorts supported by innovation and creativity, delivering inspiring spaces and cultural experiences, and we will together contribute to the development of Incheon Yeongjongdo as a world-class tourist destination.”

Since its soft opening on Nov. 30, INSPIRE has opened a 5-star hotel with a total of 1,275 rooms; INSPIRE Arena, an inaugural multi-purpose indoor venue with a capacity of up to 15,000 people; Aurora, a 150m-long digitally immersive street; INSPIRE signature restaurants, including Michael Jordan's Steak House; a year-round indoor water dome, Splash Bay's swimming pool; and state-of-the-art MICE facilities. On Feb. 3, INSPIRE Casino, the country's largest exclusive casino for international visitors, opened. INSPIRE Mall is scheduled to be fully operational in March with a mix of carefully curated branded shops, diners and community spaces. Additional facilities such as Discovery Park, an outdoor entertainment space, the largest immersive content exhibition center in Korea, and a giant food court are expected to open by the year's first half.

To watch the full ribbon cutting ceremony, visit Mohegan INSPIRE's YouTube page.

[Photo 1] Mohegan INSPIRE celebrated its grand opening, themed “Invitation to INSPIRE: The Joining of Two Cultures,” at the Rotunda, a versatile hub at the heart of INPSIRE, with attendance of approximately 500 national and international key figures.

[Photo 2] Mohegan INSPIRE celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by national and international dignitaries, including Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, James Gessner Jr.; Mohegan Chief Lynn Malerba; and Mohegan President and CEO, Ray Pineault; Incheon Mayor Yoo Jeong-bok, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Philip Goldberg, Incheon International Airport Corporation President Lee Hak-jae, on March 5.

[Photo 3] The Mohegan traditional drumming team "The Unity of Nations" performed an “Honor Song” at the Mohegan INSPIRE grand opening celebration on March 5, celebrating the meeting and unity of Mohegan and Korean cultures.

[Photo 4] Performance continued by an up-and-coming Korean traditional music group 'Maegandang' to respond to the Mohegan traditional performance at the Mohegan INSPIRE grand opening celebration on March 5.