JEJU WEEKLY

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The road to progressJeju’s governor Kim Tae-hwan describes the next steps
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승인 2009.11.12  14:32:43
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▲ Jeju Governor, Kim Tea-hwan (right) sits down with The Jeju Weekly to discuss the future direction of Jeju and to clarify many of the proposed projects that are already underway. Photo courtesy Jeju Provincial Govt.

Many ambitious plans are currently being put into action on Jeju Island, in order to transform this haven of natural beauty into a world-class tourism and business destination. A fully international airport, one-of-a-kind Global Education City, a Healthcare Town and bids to host two significant world events the IUCN’s 5th World Conservation Congress in 2012 are but a handful of the many projects underway on these shores.

These projects, many of which are joint efforts between the Jeju Provincial Government and the Korean National Government, and implemented by the Jeju Free International City Development Center (JDC), are not only intrinsic to Jeju’s future but depend heavily on relations with the wider global community, foreign investment, and the ability to attract foreign nationals to the island. “Jeju’s ultimate goal is to become a Free International City. Jeju Special Self-Governing Province was launched aiming to support and accomplish this goal,” said

Governor Kim Tae-hwan. Some believe that in to be considered truly international, the island must have at least 100,000 foreign residents- something which can only happen if Jeju is able to sufficiently provide for their needs. Governor Kim explained the intentions of the Jeju Provincial Government towards achieving this goal: “In order for foreigners to live on Jeju Island without any inconvenience, medical services and education are the two most important infrastructures. In particular, the Global Education City is one of a kind in Korea.

Through the city, the most fundamental infrastructure is sure to be established.” He went on to add that: “As part of the plan, foreign language education for Jeju residents is being strengthened. Profitbased hospitals are open to foreign investment. A new airport will be established to accommodate more incoming foreigners.”

The new airport, which is yet to be given the official go-ahead, would allow Jeju residents to fly direct to international locations, without having to go to Seoul first. It’s a key point in the discussion of how to promote and market the Global Education City and would not only enable more direct and frequent international flights, but would make it easier for foreign nationals to travel to Jeju, and make the island a more attractive prospect for Korean parents concerned about visiting their children during their English language education.

Jeju’s proposed profit-based hospitals and Healthcare Town are aimed at encouraging foreign investment-another important step in funding the Jeju of the future. Jeju’s government recently held a number of investment seminars abroad, hoping to raise the island’s profile among business leaders and encourage support. “Singapore and China are the biggest potential markets to attract foreign investments,” said Governor Kim, “we invite potential investors and explain what potential and benefits Jeju Island has as a prime place for investment.” Global marketing and promotion is another key aspect of the government’s work.

Several things help to raise Jeju’s profile internationally, none more so than important global events such as the ASEAN-ROK Summit and 3rd Delphic Games held earlier in the year. The successful hosting of these events stand Jeju in good stead as it pursues the hosting of the ICUN World Conservation Congress in 2012.

The winning bid for the WCC, which as many as 10,000 people are expected to attend, will be announced on Nov. 23. “We are optimistic about the successful bid [of the WCC], but it remains to be seen until that day. All we can say is that we are doing our utmost to host the ‘Conservation Olympics.’” Governor Kim said.

ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
All materials on this site are protected under the Korean Copyright Law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published without the prior consent of Jeju Weekly.
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