To the editor: Re “Jeju Resort has “authentic” home experience on offer” (Issue 39):
Jean K. Min’s article lacked reporting balance as it did not incorporate local views of the development. It was very pro large-scale hotel developments at the expense of local community interests.
Jeju is a small island, just 70km by 40km. Jeju countryside villages would be better suited to developing minbak, pensions and small hotels that are environmentally and culturally sensitive. Local Jeju villagers should maintain autonomy over their own village developments.
The large-scale development encourages urban sprawl into the Jeju countryside and changes the environmental/cultural character of Jeju villages. It destroys the agriculture and fishing style of Jeju living enjoyed by locals.
Large-scale hotel developments would be better suited to Jeju’s two major cities: Jeju and Seogwipo, where there is less impact on the traditional farming and fishing economic system.
The Olle hiking system is a great sustainable tourism model for small-scale tourism development. It encourages local Jeju people in the countryside to have their own control and management of minbak, pensions, and small hotels, which create economic benefits for local communities and are environmentally sustainable for future generations of Jeju people.
If Jeju continues with this large-scale big hotel development, obliterating the traditional farming system in the countryside, then future tourists may choose to visit an island such as Tasmania, Australia, that has more respect for local communities and is more environmentally sustainable.
(David Hufton is an EPIK teacher from Australia.)
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