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승인 2010.03.16  12:47:42
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More flyers frequent budget carriers
More travelers are choosing to fly budget carriers between Gimpo, Seoul, and Jeju Island, the most popular domestic route for local travelers and recently ranked the world’s busiest city pair in a survey by OAG Travel Service. The budget carriers, Jeju Air, Eastar and Jin Air carried almost half of all passengers between the two airports during January and February.

Figures released by the Korea Airports Corporation show that the three budget carriers shared 46.9 percent of the market for the first two months of the year. That share has continued to increase since 2008, when budget airlines accounted for only 16.8 percent of passengers between Gimpo and Seoul airports. By the last quarter of 2009, that figure had risen to 39.5 percent and if the trend continues, will soon have the low-cost airlines outperforming full-service carriers, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, on the route.

The rise is in part attributable to the cost issue and also the fact that safety and service concerns the public once had with budget airlines have dissipated. Budget carriers are making inroads on other routes within Korea also, holding 30 percent of the domestic market at the end of last year. Low-cost airlines hope to grab a bigger share of the international pie as well. Jin Air, which currently flies from Incheon to Bangkok, will add flights to Guam from April. Jeju Air, the first budget carrier to offer international flights in March 2009, will begin a fifth route, from Gimpo to Nagoya, Japan, on March 29

Task force against Halla cable car
A 40-year long debate on whether to install a cable car system on Mount Halla has entered a new phase. A task force set up by the Jeju provincial government to conduct a feasibility study and assess the impact of such a system revealed its research results in a press conference. Its analysis showed that the proposed cable car between Yeongsil and the peak of Mount Halla would have a profound negative impact on the ecological environment and damage the landscape of the UNESCO world natural heritage site.

The team further stated that the controversial installation of such a system should not be determined based solely on economic reasons. “Even if a cable car on Mount Halla could be installed legally due to eased restrictions, the controversial issue should be resolved by an open-access policy utilizing discussion and considering the environmental impact, financial feasibility and opinions of Jeju residents as a whole.”

The provincial government said that a final decision would be made after holding a series of public hearings to weigh public opinions and reach consensus on the issue.

Visitors move away from package tours
Eight out of 10 tourists to Jeju are return visitors, according to a survey conducted by the Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Tourism Association on March 9. The survey found that 83.8 percent of 4,962 Korean tourists over 15 who travelled to Jeju last year had been to the island more than once. Almost half (43.6 percent) had visited Jeju four or more times, followed by those who had visited twice (23.4 percent) or three times (16.9 percent). In terms of occupation, those who visited four or more times were evenly distributed, excepting students.

The survey results also indicate that 76 percent of visitors were independent travelers while the popularity of package tours has declined. Recreation and sightseeing topped the reasons for travel at 64.6 percent, followed by conference or business (15.9 percent), sport (14.9 percent) and visits to relatives (4.3 percent). Just under half (49.2 percent) of all visitors to the island stayed for two nights. The majority (58.5 percent) rented cars to get around the island.

Jeju to focus on foreign languages
As part of plans to become an international tourism hub, the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province plans to have 60,000 fluent foreign language speakers on the island by 2020. The language education program, targeting civil servants, citizens and tourism workers, will be part of a planned 2.7 trillion won investment to forge an environment where foreign languages are commonly used. Also included is the establishment of the Jeju Global Education City, on which work has begun; the increased use of Korean and foreign languages for street signs; and the use of English for official documents and official meetings.

Officials plan to offer specialized English, Japanese and Chinese language classes to civil servants with the intention of producing 100 employees specializing in foreign languages by 2013. The provincial government also plans to increase the number of foreign civil servants working in international relations and investment inducement.

“We will seek to make Jeju a tourism hub in Northeast Asia by solidifying a foreign-language infrastructure that will enable people to use foreign languages freely in their everyday lives,” said Kim Su Byeong, a senior provincial government official.





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