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More than 10 million tourists flock to Jeju

Publication Date : 29-11-2013


Thanks to the Olle trails, warm climate and an influx of Chinese tourists, the far southern island of Jejudo has seen more than 10 million tourists this year, authorities said Thursday.

According to the Jeju government, the number of tourists to the island so far this year exceeded 10 million as of Thursday. Domestic tourists took the lion’s share of about 7.8 million while inbound tourists made up around 2.2 million, the majority of whom were Chinese, records show.

The number is a huge jump from 2005’s 5 million and barely 100,000 in 1966. Jeju has been considered a honeymoon and holiday getaway for its mild and semi-subtropical climate.

The record of 10 million tourists surpasses that of internationally well-known resort islands, the authorities said. Globally preferred travel destinations such as Hawaii and Bali marked 7.9 million and 8.9 million, respectively, last year.

The share of foreigners among the total is also promising. “We do not have the specific numbers, but we think having about 22 percent foreign tourists is as high as Hawaii and others,” an official from the Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Tourism Association said.

The 10 million tourists are expected to have brought in 6.4 trillion won (US$6 billion) to the island. The amount is eight times that created through farming tangerines, a local specialty, and triple the tourism income of 2010, which totaled 3.35 trillion won.

The designation of the volcanic island and its lava tubes as Unesco World Heritage sites in 2007 has enhanced international awareness while the development of the Olle trails brought in domestic travelers, the authorities said.

“Direct flights from China as well as cruise ships have attracted more Chinese tourists to the island. The authorities have been offering benefits, including permanent residency to investors, which have drawn more people to Jeju. Budget airlines have also contributed to the boost of domestic travelers,” said Han Seung-jae, spokesman of the tourism association.

Experts called for the development of more shopping and leisure facilities to encourage inbound tourism spending. “According to reports, there are 90 million Chinese outbound travelers spending 140 trillion won, but Jeju gets less than 3 trillion won,” Shin Dong-il, researcher at the Jeju Development Institute, told local media.


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