+ A

Korea hopes to boost visits to DMZ, villages

Apr 05,2019
The view of Wanggok Village in Goseong County, Gangwon. The Culture Ministry recommends travelers with families visit the rural village during the upcoming “Travel Week” event this month. [JOONGANG ILBO]
In time for the spring travel season, the Korea Tourism Organization has been releasing new plans and events to encourage travel around the country.

The government announced Tuesday that it aims to have 23 million international visitors by 2022, up from 15.35 million last year. In order to make the country a place international visitors want to return to, the country sees the need to develop more cities into travel destinations. Currently, Seoul and Jeju Island are where most travelers visit when they come to Korea.

Local tourism, which was hit hard due to the installation of the U.S. terminal high altitude area defense system, is slowly recovering. However, as more Koreans choose to take trips overseas, some have said that Korea needs to develop more interesting attractions to not only keep locals within the country but also to draw global jetsetters.

The government has laid its eyes on making what it already has more exciting. With the demilitarized zone - a hotspot unlike any other place in the world - partially opening to the public at the end of April, the Korea Tourism Organization is preparing tour guides to lead people through the area. About 20 travel guides are currently being trained. Experts in the DMZ are taking the tour guides to the site to share information that could be interesting to visitors.

Those who want to be the first ones to walk the trail as part of a guided tour can apply online starting April 11.

Meanwhile, Korea will have “Spring Travel Week” from April 27 to May 12. The theme for this season is “village,” encouraging travelers to seek villages near and far from their homes. During this “Travel Week” period, special discounts and tour programs will be provided in order to disperse when people travel as the usual travel season falls in the summer.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and other related organizations put together a travel program identifying different villages across the country and which locations are best for certain people. On April 29, it recommends people visit Wanggok Village in Goseong County, Gangwon, especially to those with family members in their 60s, for more tranquil walks around the town.

Those who prefer traveling solo and meeting new people are recommended to come out on May 3 to visit Bukjeong Village to see what Seoul looked like in the past. Those in their 40s and 50s are recommended to go to Sanyacho Village in Jecheon, North Chungcheong, and learn about food ingredients they can take home for themselves and their families.
Those interested in joining the tour can apply by April 15 on the Travel Week website.

BY LEE SUN-MIN [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]

To join a guided tour of the DMZ trail, go to www.dam.go.kr. For more information about the Travel Week, go to travelweek.visitkorea.or.kr or call 1330, a hotline for travel tips all across Korea in Korean, English and more languages.