Jeju City, South Korea – Jeju Special Self-governing Province (Governor Won Hee-ryong) and Jeju Tourism Organization (President Park Hong-bai) announced that they successfully hosted the two-day event of ‘Global Jeju Project’ which invites diplomats in Korea to Jeju. The event, marking the fourth anniversary, was held from November 17th to 18th this year, and it has been growing as a meaningful opinion exchange platform for and between key opinion leaders from the embassies and consulate offices as well as for the islanders. Delegates and representatives from 18 countries participated to share insights and exemplary practices of tourism policies from their own countries and discussed how Jeju could do a better job in excelling to be a friendlier international tourist destination.
In order to advance this thought, and Jeju Tourism Organization (JTO) arranged a wide spectrum of tour and cultural experience-full itinerary that differs from ordinary travel packages. The participants unanimously agreed that they could see the island’s beauty and unforeseen cultural gem thanks to the program. They also showed high satisfaction for the opportunity given interacting with the locals, listing from visiting villages and partaking in unique hands-on activities offered on sites.
Some highlights of the experiences included, acorn kalguksu making from Seonheul-ri village and Jeju hallabong orange juice making from Jeju Olle Traditional Market. The diplomatic corps enjoyed cooking and sampling the noodle soup on the spot with the help of village ladies. They were also surprised to learn the variety of Jeju’s local ingredients and its health benefits. The participants went for forest walk followed by the noodle experience, understanding importance of Jeju wetland (or gotjawal in Jeju dialect) protection and saw how Jeju has been trying to encourage eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable tour programs for visitors.
Visiting Jeju Folk and Jeju 4.3 Peace Park, was also part of the schedule, of which showed Jeju’s past and history linking to what currently Jeju has to offer. Even though there was not enough time to hike the tallest mountain in Korea, Hallasan located in the center of Jeju Island, the participants were able to enjoy panoramic view of it from beautiful 1100 Goji Highland.
Hungarian Ambassador Mozes Csoma Ambassador of Hungry in Korea, who participated in the 2018 Global Jeju Project pointed out that Hungarians know drama ‘Daejanggeum (2003)’ very well however they do not know the fact that it was partly filmed in Jeju. He said, “If more people were told with the latter, Jeju could possibly attract more Hungarian to Jeju,” adding “Promoting Jeju using movie and drama filming locations that Jeju has will play as an effective marketing tool for international audiences, especially for Europeans.” The ambassador also suggested that the resort island will benefit more by branding the place with ‘hot springs’ information, recollecting the widely-loved spa culture from his homeland, Budapest.
Tine Jagob, Vice Ambassador of Belgium in Korea, suggested after visiting the Dongbaek Dongsan Wetland Center, “Ideas such as hosting eco-friendly sport events like cycling will attract the Western visitors to Jeju, and this will help the island more known for its efforts in reducing environmental pollution created by tourism activities.” On the different note, European Union (EU) Ambassador Micheal Michael Reiterer voiced that Jeju also needs to keep its originality and develop its own style, forming unique identity and traits when penciling tourism policies, referring to an example of Spain’s volcanic island Tenerife.
Ambassador Belarus Andrei Popkov pointed out the need to hold international conferences to show the world Jeju’s beauty, Malaysia Charge d’Affaires a. i. Shaharuddin Onn suggested that “We hope to see Jeju invests more on providing halal and Muslim-friendly restaurants for dietary restricted travelers.”
An official from the Jeju Tourism Organization stated that “Through the opinions and advices we received over Global Jeju Project event, we will surely be reflecting them in our future road maps and business plan” also mentioning, “We appreciate the diplomats’ interest and participation in making the Global Jeju Project possible every year. And we look forward to cooperate continuously with the consulate offices in various levels of tourism sectors and your opinions are always valued.”