The number of visitors to Mt. Halla, a symbol of Jeju and a World Natural Heritage icon, has again topped 1 million, for the second year in a row.
According to figures released by the Hallasan National Park, as of Dec. 3, 1,023,834 people visited Mt. Halla this year.
This is a noticeable increase considering the fact that there were only 100,000 visitors in 1981, 500,000 in 1994, and 920,000 in 2008.
Many people visit Mt. Halla not only because its clean natural surrounds but also the panoramic view of volcanic cones (called oreum) that dot the island landscape, and views of the ocean from the 1,950 meter-tall peak.
Furthermore, a series of events and changes have contributed to attract more visitors, such as the opening of Seongpanak and Gwaneumsa trails in 2003, free entrance event on January of 2007, registration as World Natural Heritage in June of 2007, opening of Donnaeko trail in 2009 and Sara Oreum opening in 2010.
However it is the Mt. Halla environment which encourages visitors along with its certified attraction for climbers. Highlights of the environment are: royal azalea in spring, evergreens in summer, autumn tints during fall and snowfalls in winters. Yet, more damage to the environment and lack of parking space are emerging as key challenges as the number of visitors increases.
According to the Jeju Development Institute, about 1.8 million visitors are expected in 2020, which is very close to Mt. Halla’s maximum capacity of 2.04 million a year.
“In order to keep the number of visitors at optimum level, we’re looking into other ways [of control], such as charging entrance fees, pre-reservation requirement for groups, and more,” said a representative of Hallasan National Park. He added, “With constant monitoring on eight influence indexes (indicators), we are trying our best to minimize damage”
For more information, please call Hallasan National Park at 064-713-9950.
(Translated by Angela Kim)
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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