JEJU WEEKLY

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Governor woos tourists in SeoulWon Hee-ryong seeks to bolster flagging tourism industry with promotional campaign
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승인 2015.07.17  10:28:37
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▲ Governor Won Hee-ryong jigs with local ska favorites South Carnival. Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province

Jeju governor Won Hee-ryong donned facepaint and did a jig in Seoul’s popular Myeongdong shopping district on Thursday as he attempted to boost Jeju tourism alongside local bands South Carnival and the Drum Brothers.

The event was in response to the negative Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) effect as tourist numbers have plummeted.

▲ Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province

Seoul mayor Park Won-soon urged Seoul residents to fly to Jeju in support as did Jeju actress Ko Du-sim and the heads of the Overseas Jeju People’s Association, Jeju Tourism Association, and Jeju Tourism Organization.

The governor and mayor greeted passersby in the busy shopping district handing out mandarins and homemade punch made from Jeju fruit. There was also a dance performance by haenyeo, Jeju’s women divers.

Governor Won stressed that Jeju remains MERS-free and is a “treasure and healing island,” adding: "We hope that not only foreigners but also Koreans will visit the island. I think if as many Koreans come to the island as before, foreigners will too."

He also explained his partnership with Mayor Park by adding that the two municipalities shared many of the same goals, “because many foreign tourists visit both the capital and the island during their stay in Korea.”

▲ Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province

According to JTA figures, domestic and foreign tourists in June were just at a fifth of 2014 levels with the drop most marked after Jeju’s June MERS scare as a man carrying MERS visited the island. The island remains MERS-free, however.

June visitors to Korea plunged from 1.03 million last year to 640,000 this year and travel bookings for July and August dropped from 1.13 million to 200,000.

To tempt more travelers to Jeju, the Jeju Tourism Association will hold a ‘Jeju Hot Sales’ discount event until Aug 31. Visitors can enter a prize draw for a Harley Davidson motorcycle, car, and discount vouchers for up to 60 percent off tourism products.

Won plans to visit China in August to appeal to Jeju’s biggest market and a special press conference with foreign journalists was held at the Seoul Press Center on Friday for that end.

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