After four years of campaigning, the New7Wonders of Nature were announced on Nov. 11 at 7:07 p.m. GMT (4:07 a.m. KST, Nov. 12). Jeju won, along with Amazon, Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls, Komodo Island, Puerto Princesa Underground River, and Table Mountain.
After the announcement, the president of South Korea, Lee Myung Bak said, “Along with all Koreans I want to congratulate Jeju on becoming one of the New7Wonders of Nature, adding that though Jeju is the only place in the world to have a UNESCO “triple crown,” of a Biosphere Reserve, World Natural Heritage site, and World Geopark designations, the New7Wonders of Nature campaign “was more meaningful in that netizens from all over the world voted for Jeju.”
To celebrate Jeju becoming one of the New7Wonders, the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province has set in motion five strategies to promote the island globally and to stimulate the local economy. The five strategies are:
• to establish a Jeju brand recognized around the world • to create a synergy effect between tourism and other industries • to promote education and public relations campaigns • to establish a long-lasting sustainable support system • and to strengthen the province’s global ties.
In order to effectively achieve these strategies, the provincial government has also set seven major tasks, which are tied to this latest accolade of being one of the New7Wonders of Nature.
The tasks are:
• to maximize the island’s New7Wonders of Nature designation through advertising • to establish a total brand management system • to stimulate the local economy through the use of the New7Wonders of Nature brand • to create a value-added tourism industry • to recreate the value of Jeju’s environmental resources • to utilize and promote Jeju as a New7 Wonders of Nature site • and to become a sustainable green city.
According to the Jeju Development Institute, Jeju can earn up to 1.3 trillion won (US$1.1 billion) in investments and profits from increases in tourism and production from the New7Wonders of Nature title.
The provincial government also estimates that the number of foreign tourists had increased by about 27 percent compared to last year due to Jeju’s New7 Wonders of Nature promotions.
“With Jeju’s nomination as one of New7Wonders of Nature, the goal of attracting 2 million tourists by 2014 is not a dream anymore. It’s one step closer to reality,” said Jeju Governor Woo Keun Min in an interview with Jeju Ilbo.
“Currently, there are 26 regular direct flights from four countries, yet I want to expand it to over 30 direct flights. In order to achieve this goal, early propulsion of the new airport project is necessary,” Woo said.
The province also plans to hold commemoration ceremonies, seminars, briefing sessions, and more regarding Jeju’s designation as a New7Wonders of Nature to maximize publicity.
Based on such efforts, Jeju plans to amplify support from both the central and local governments on major projects, like the construction of a new airport, and activities to commemorate Jeju’s designation as a New7Wonders of Nature.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will also work with the provincial government to attract more tourists and strengthen basic infrastructures to accommodate the increasing number of tourists.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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For the announcement ceremony in the early hours of Nov. 12, over 1,000 people packed the Jeju Arts Center. Photo by Douglas MacDonald
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