South Korea eyeing more tourist arrivals for island containing the natural World Heritage Site Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes
The Jeju Island Tourism Organization, South Korea has revealed a 20 per cent increase in the number of UAE tourists that have visited South Korea’s Jeju Island during the first half of 2017. The figures were presented in a special promotional event held at the JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai. The event was aimed towards further promoting the increasing popularity of Jeju Island to a potential UAE and Middle East market. Jeju, which is the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, has long been South Korea’s highly preferred holiday destination–made more attractive for its beautiful beaches and posh countryside and seaside hotel and resorts. Gracing the promotional event was His Excellency (H.E.) Seongtae Jeon, Vice Governor for Administrative Affairs of the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province. This information session was also attended by the Korean Consul Namdeook Heo in Dubai, Director Yongsuk Kwon of KOTRA, President Geyongsoo Kim of the Korean Association of UAE, Dubai travel agencies, medical tourism officials, and associated reporters.
A recent report from the Korea Tourism Organization shows that more than 10, 277 tourists from the Middle East region visited Korea during H1 2017. The figure demonstrates a 7.4 per cent increase in the number of Middle East tourists that visited Korea during the same period in 2016. Jeju Island has become a top destination for tourists visiting the country, which has become famous for its natural World Heritage Site Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes–an area that serves as a testament to the rich history of the earth, its features and processes included. Other top attractions in the island include Mount Halla, the Cheonjeyeon Waterfalls, Hallim Park, Yakcheonsa Temple, Manjanggul and the Jeju Stone Statue Park.
Aside from the UNESCO World Heritage Site distinction, Jeju Island has also been awarded by UNESCO with the 2012 Biosphere Reserve Award and the 2010 Global Geoparks Award. The island has four seasons and has the smallest annual range of temperature, where the annual average temperature is about 16 degrees Celsius. The KTO has also shared that the island has also become a prime destination for medical tourism. Jeju is home to four general hospitals and 800 clinics. To date, there are also 30 hospitals spread across the island that offers specialized medical treatments including cosmetic surgery, skin care and allergy treatment, to name a few.
“We are extremely pleased and proud to promote Jeju Island to the UAE’s thriving outbound tourism segment. The UAE and South Korea have enjoyed strong ties over the years and we are more than happy to welcome them as guests and visitors to our famous Jeju Island,” said Jeon. “Tourists visiting Jeju will be awestruck with the island’s many destinations, including crystal blue beaches, green countryside and historical and natural sites. In addition, there are wide choices of hotels that can suit their budget. We invite everyone from the UAE to visit and enjoy Jeju Island.”
Jeon also shared that the Island is also looking towards becoming a Muslim-friendly destination–offering Muslim visitors with prayer room facilities and have also started to work closely with the island’s F & B businesses to ensure that food being served is Halal certified and approved. The Jeju Island offers a ‘visa-upon-arrival’ privilege to 180 nationalities, including the UAE.
Visitors to Korea’s biggest island will discover that there is a lot to do when visiting the area–from hiking up to the country’s highest mountain, Hallasan, climbing the Seongsan Ilchul-Bong cone to walking across the Jeju Olle Trails and enjoying seafood delights caught by the haeneyos, South Korean female free divers.