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Jeju seducing the Muslim dollarProvince courts the Southeast Asian market as province looks to diversify inbound tourists
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승인 2015.03.19  15:43:09
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▲ Bagdad Cafe is the only halal-certified restaurant in Jeju. Photo by Brian Miller

This article appeared in The Jeju Weekly #130 alongside an interview with Muslim visitors to Jeju (click here) and the founder of the Jeju Islamic Cultural Center, Kim Daeyong (a.k.a. Bashir Kim) (click here).

Since Jeju’s tourism market first grew domestically from the 1970s and then internationalized with visitors from Japan (1990s) and then China (2010s), the industry has served customers of a similar geographic and cultural base.

Although Jeju “going to the world” was long sought, the recent skyrocketing of Chinese visitors — from 400,000 in 2010 to 2.8 million in 2014 — has paradoxically fed fears of a lopsided market dependent on tourist yuan.

The simultaneous drop in Japanese visitors — from almost 188,000 in 2010 to 96,500 in 2014 — has only increased the clammer for new outbound markets. While India and Russia remain appealing yet unpenetrated, Southeast Asia is seen as having the most potential, and it is easy to see why.

Fueled by the region’s strong economic growth — spending on outbound travel is growing at over 20 percent per year according to the Malaysian government’s Department of Statistics — Jeju Tourism Office predicts a 5 percent increase in Malaysian outbound tourists in 2015.

The story is similar for Indonesia, and Auckland Airport analysis projects the archipelago will be Asia’s fastest growing outbound market by 2020, as more and more of its 115 million domestic tourists venture abroad.

JTO statistics confirm this shift toward Southeast Asia, albeit with suggestions of volatility in the market.

Southeast Asian visitors to Jeju (% of visitors to Korea)
Country
2009
2013
2014
Pop.
Malaysia
14,806 (18%)
74,926 (36%)
63,826 (26%)
29.7m
Singapore
32,727 (39%)
56,577 (32%)
46,330 (23%)
5.4m
Indonesia
3,391 (4%)
22,705 (12%)
36,842 (17%)
249.9m

▲ The KTO recently published a guide book for "Muslim-friendly" restaurants in Korea. Image courtesy Korea Tourism Organization

Jeju strategy: “Going to the world”
This is all part of a multi-pronged strategy to diversify incoming tourists to Jeju, and it is not limited to Southeast Asia, although the region is key.

-PR office opened in Indonesia to target Southeast Asia;
-Marketing campaign through Santai Magazine (Malaysia);
-Publicity tour by Malaysian model Yumi Wong;
-Jeju promoted as a long-stay destination;
-Shanghai no-visa scheme and cruise services expanded;
-Financial support provided for charter flights from Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Yakutsk and Ulan Bator;
-Plans to expand no-visa program on routes such as: India-Hong Kong-Jeju and Manilla-Shanghai-Jeju.

Services on the ground
Although this shift has been welcomed, there needs to be increasing awareness of Southeast Asian cultural heritage to maximize visitor satisfaction, particularly with each market's large Muslim population: Indonesia (87 percent of 250m population); Malaysia (61 percent of 29.7m population); Singapore (15 percent of 5.4m population).

To cater to these visitors, in 2012 authorities distributed prayer mats, copies of the Koran, compasses and direction stickers for Mecca to Lotte Hotel, Hyatt Hotel, Kal Hotel, Ocean Suites, The Hotel, Ocean Grand, Palace, and Neighborhood. The only resort to receive the items was Ilchul Land.

They are also working closely with Professor Kim Daeyeong (see interview) to provide workers in the service industry with cultural awareness training and increase the number of halal restaurants on the island.

▲ The KTO book also provides some simple language tips for Muslim travelers. Image courtesy Korea Tourism Organization

Places to eat
Korea Tourism Organization also recently published a list of “Muslim-friendly” restaurants , which states the only halal restaurant on the island is Bagdad in Jeju’s City Hall area, although another in Jungmun should open this year. The "Muslim'friendly" restaurants listed serve seafood or vegetarian dishes and understand Muslim cultural needs.

“Muslim-friendly” restaurants (data released by JTO)

Name

Menu

Contact

Samda

Seafood stew, mushroom stew (prayer room planned)

258-11 Ilchul-ro, Seongsan-eup (064-782-4841)

Geobu Hanjeongsik

Grilled and stewed fish, Korean “set meal” with multiple side dishes

Namseongjung-ro, Seogwipo-si (064-762-4115)

Bapi Boyak

Vegetables, tofu, seafood stew

11 Doryeong-ro, Jeju-si (064-744-7782)

Hwanggane

Abalone casserole

3 Yeondong 3-gil, Jeju-si, 064-713-8887

Doraji

Grilled and stewed fish, Korean “set meal” with multiple side dishes

128 Yeonsam-ro, Jeju-si (064-721-3142)

Mulmegol

Temple-style food (vegetarian)

67 Beondaedong-gil, Aewol-eup (064-713-5486)


Halal restaurants

Name

Menu

Address

Bagdad

(Indian) Chicken tikka, masala, rogan josh

38 Seogwang-ro 32-gil, Jeju-si (064-757-8182)

Shangrila (planned for 2015)

“Halal specialist restaurant” to open soon

Jungmun

▲ The Jeju Islamic Cultural Center in Shin Jeju, run by Professor Kim Daeyong (front left in black). Photo courtesy Jeju Islamic Cultural Center

Places to pray
There is only one official Muslim organization on Jeju, Kim Daeyong's Shin Jeju cultural center. There Kim Daeyong provides a space for prayer, support and advice for Muslims on Jeju.

Jeju Islamic Cultural Center
#1208 Jeonghan Officetel, 42 Noyeon-ro, Jeju-si / islamjeju.or.kr / 010 3692 3932

Places to stay
There is no official list of guesthouses for Muslims. The following all receive large numbers of Southeast Asian guests and have English-speaking staff.

YEHA Guesthouse

9 Samo-gil, Jeju-si and 278 Seogwang-ro, Jeju-si / 064-724-5506 / yehaguesthouse.com

Jejueco Suites

Jungmunsang-ro 207-13 Seogwipo-si / 064-738-9975 / jejueco.kr

Backpackers in Jeju

1-1, Gwangyang 8-gil, Jeju-si / 064-773-2077

Backpackers Home

24 Jungjeong-ro, Seogwipo-si / 064-763-4000 / backhomejeju.com

This article appeared in The Jeju Weekly #130 alongside an interview with Muslim visitors to Jeju (click here) and the founder of the Jeju Islamic Cultural Center, Kim Daeyong (a.k.a. Bashir Kim) (click here).

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