|▲ Chinese tourists in Jeju Photo courtesy Yonhap
On Dec. 20 the Jeju government announced changes its tourism business plan from a largely “bargain-group” based policy targeting Chinese tourists to one that embraces greater global appeal and individual tours.
The first step will involve changes to excessive competition among companies and duty free shop commission fees, and unqualified guides at travel agencies.
Cooperating with the police, public prosecutors, and Immigration, the Jeju government will institute new procedures for managing foreigner tour businesses, and controlling unqualified tour guides and unregistered tour agencies.
To improve excessive commission fees, tourism companies will be expected to self regulate following an index of maximum allowable fees.
Free WIFI, a user “participatory function”, as well as greater accessibility using English, Chinese, and Japanese for tour information services will be provided in order to better facilitate tourist needs.
The Golden Bus and City Tour Bus systems will be combined by October 2017, and a general reform of the public transport system is planned, including a new bus loop that will begin in August in order to revitalize public transportation.
In the first half of 2017, a Total Support Center will be established with the Jeju Tourism Corporation in order to solve tourist-related issues related to fee gouging, language, and transportation. This will include all new field service teams as well as real-time online counsel and support.
In order to address a reliance on Chinese tourists - who currently make up 85 percent of the tourist population - Jeju will expand international direct flight routes. The government also plans on dedicating additional marketing in both Japanese and South East Asian markets.
In Japan this means more advertising on television, as well as additional briefing sessions for products like weddings, golf, horse riding, and yachting - activities that appeal to a specifically Japanese clientele.
In new markets like Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, oversea offices will be created in order to research the tourism needs of these countries, and how Jeju might better expand their market share in each.
A task force will outline strategies for dealing with anticipated increases in the number of tourists on the island. They will identify core areas like the expansion of traffic and transportation services, safety issues, water and sewage usage, garbage disposal, and how to better respond to the rapid increase of population and update the infrastructure necessary to support it.
Lee Seung-chan, Jeju Tourism director, said, “To reduce the problems in Jeju tourism, we need to cooperate with the administration, our citizens, and tour companies. We need to strengthen Jeju’s competitiveness, from quantitative development to quality control.”