Local gov'ts moving to revitalize regional tourism for 'living with COVID-19'

Asia's Tech News Daily

Local gov'ts moving to revitalize regional tourism for 'living with COVID-19'

Hikers walk along Route 20 of Jeju Island’s Olle Trail, in this photo taken on Oct. 23 last year when the downsized Jeju Olle Walking Festival kicked off. This year, Jeju Island will hold the event from this Friday to Nov. 16, aiming to revitalize tourism on the island. Yonhap

South Chungcheong Province aims to attract 100,000 Chinese tourists next year

By Jun Ji-hye

Local governments are moving fast to revitalize regional tourism and economies that have become stagnant amid the prolonged COVID-19, in line with the government’s move to shift to a “living with COVID-19” phase early next month.

Under the policy shift, the government is set to ease social distancing measures, and health authorities plan to focus more on managing critically ill patients rather than all virus cases, as the nation’s vaccination program has been gaining speed. This move is in preparation for returning to normal life in phases.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Tourism Organization said Monday that they will distribute 70,000 passes that provide discounts of up to more than 50 percent at 121 tourist attractions around the capital including N Seoul Tower, as well as discounts to take part in a variety of activity programs.

Anyone can download the pass, named “My Seoul Pass,” on a first-come-first-served basis through its official website via email or KakaoTalk until Dec. 31.

“We expect My Seoul Pass to serve as the starting point for a rebound of the struggling tourism industry,” an official from the Seoul Tourism Organization said.

The southern resort island of Jeju is planning to hold the Jeju Olle Walking Festival from this Friday to Nov. 16 in its first step toward revitalizing tourism there.

“We expect more and more tourists to visit the island, once the government’s policy is shifted to the living with COVID-19 scheme,” an official from the Jeju Tourism Association said. “As the tourism industry has put up with many difficulties amid the pandemic that has lasted for nearly two years, we hope the policy shift will lead to a recovery of the industry.”

Ulleung County of North Gyeongsang Province is planning to launch a trekking program for autumn and winter, while Changwon City of South Gyeongsang Province will hold a chrysanthemum festival from Oct. 27 to Nov. 7.

Ulsan Metropolitan City, which was originally planning to hold the Korea Garden Industry Fair this month, has postponed the event to Nov. 2 to 7, considering the schedule for the government’s policy shift.

Hwacheon County of Gangwon Province, which last year had to cancel the annual Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival, is also expected to resume the popular ice fishing event this year, if other festivals scheduled for autumn are held smoothly.

Some local governments are rushing to attract foreign tourists in preparation for the next phase of government policy on COVID-19 management.

Local gov'ts moving to revitalize regional tourism for 'living with COVID-19'

Actor Lee Jung-jae as Seong Gi-hun in the Netflix original series “Squid Game” / Courtesy of Netflix

South Chungcheong Province has set a goal of attracting 100,000 Chinese tourists next year, while Daegu Metropolitan City is working to launch a tourism product that utilizes the Netflix series “Squid Game,” which has become a global sensation, in a bid to attract tourists from Singapore. This program is aimed at offering tourists opportunities to experience the survival games, played by 456 people in the drama, at a village in the city.

Singapore singed a travel bubble agreement with South Korea, Oct. 8. The agreement, which will go into effect Nov. 15, is aimed at exempting or easing rules on mandatory quarantine for travelers in both directions who have been fully vaccinated.

For its part, Gangwon Province is working to develop programs for various marine leisure sports such as yachting and surfing in a bid to attract young people.

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