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In busy Bukchon, gov’t hopes to tame tour flow

June 15,2018
Starting next month, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will limit visiting hours for the Bukchon Hanok Village to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Mondays to Saturdays. Tourists will be asked not to visit the village at all on Sundays.

The restriction, more of a recommendation than an enforceable rule, comes amid the village’s growing popularity as a tourist destination. The neighborhood, which has some of the city’s oldest preserved Korean homes, sees around 10,000 visitors a day, and residents have been complaining of the noise.

“The limit on visiting hours is the first of its kind in the village,” the Seoul Metropolitan Government said in a statement on Thursday, “and is being implemented because residents have complained about too much noise in the area due to increasing tourist visits, the trash left behind and illegal parking issues.”

The government plans to have residents let visitors know about the limited hours. “We will see how well this is received and try to come up with more long-run policies on tourism in the area,” the statement read.

Guides will also be dispatched to keep tour groups from littering in the area and prevent them from trespassing into private property, which some tourists have inadvertently done.

“The government will dispatch officials to discourage illegal parking and also set up a bus stop specifically for tour buses to drop people off in the area,” the statement added.

The government will also collect trash in the village three times a day, one more than in the past, and increase the number of public bathrooms.

“There are 12 bathrooms available in the village, but we hope to open up 58 additional ones by speaking with some private property owners in the area,” it said.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]