▲ "Hyori's Homestay" Season 2 Source: JTBC website
"Tourism phobia" has finally got the better of Lee Hyo-ri and Lee Sang-soon, the stars of hit TV show "Hyori's Homestay." Due to the number of tourists visiting the couple's Jeju home, which also served as the backdrop to the TV show, they have sold their property to cable TV Network JTBC.
JTBC's decision to buy the property is a wise one both for the couple themselves and for the future of the show. Even though the couple are celebrities, their privacy must be protected. If a third party purchases the site and uses it commercially, the show "Hyori's Bed and Breakfast" may be damaged.
Though it seems like a good decision all round, this is a table-turning situation.
Before, travel shows would show famous locations. These locations were the source of the show's content. It would make or break the shows. Now, however, it's the other way around. Unknown places become tourist spots after being captured on television.
The fact that the couple had to leave their Jeju home, the home that is the backdrop to "Hyori's Homestay," is symbolic of how broadcast content can invade the privacy of those featured in the shows.
Certainly, lines were crossed in regards to "Hyori's Homestay." Some thoughtless people seemed to forget that people actually lived in the house. There were reports of people knocking on the door and even trespassing on the property.
However, even at lesser levels, the influence of television is already changing people's daily lives.
The prime examples of this include the conflicts between residents and tourists at the Hanok Village in Bukchon and Byeokhwa Village in Hyehwa-dong.
These villages were always popular tourist attractions. However, the number of tourists visiting increased significantly after travel shows such as "Two Days and One Night" featured the villages.
Sometimes, tour buses drop off travelers at the villages. As a result, the daily lives of residents inevitably has begun to suffer. Those who once kept their doors open and visited their neighbors freely now need to lock the doors to block tourists from entering their premises.
The higher tourist numbers also brought merchants and sellers which caused conflict with the residents.
To attempt to solve the problem, residents of Hyehwa's Byeokhwa Village erased the wall paintings that made the village a tourist spot in the first place. This is quite an understandable choice considering that some residents now suffer from panic disorder due to the influx of tourists.
The situation surrounding Lee Hyo-ri and Lee Sag-soon's departure from their Jeju home is especially ironic.
The house attracted so much attention thanks to the popularity of "Hyori's Homestay." However, the reason the show was loved was because it aired the quiet daily lives of the couple. In the end, the show that gave people a glimpse of their relaxing lives ended up destroying their ability to live a relaxing life.
In fact, such incidents were already common. For instance, when the house where the show "Three Meals a Day" was filmed became famous, production had to stop due to the rush of tourists.
Rather than visiting specific landmarks or tourist spots, television began entering the private lives of the subjects because that's what viewers want to see. However, once filming is over, the place where the show was filmed runs the risk of being turned into a tourist spot.
For people watching these shows, it is important to remember that even if you are curious about the place, if it is not a tourist destination, you must be courteous and cautious.
In Lee Hyo-ri's case, if their private lives seemed that precious, wouldn't you want to protect that life for them? Instead of visiting someone else's private life, it would be better to adopt a similar lifestyle for yourself.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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