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Korea Tourism Organization gives Jeju Island the star treatment

TORONTO — Few Canadians are familiar with Korea’s Jeju Island, but that’s about to change, says the Korea Tourism Organization.

In the spirit of Korea Tourism Organization’s (KTO) new model of bringing popular Korean regional tourism organizations to Canada, the KTO gave Jeju Island the star treatment at trade events last week in Toronto and Vancouver.

Dinner presentations attended by travel retailers and KTO supplier partners showcased Jeju Island’s culture and natural beauty.

Jeju, Korea’s largest island and only an hour flight from Seoul, is filled with folklore and culture, says the KTO. The island is known for its beach resorts, volcanic coastline and cavelike lava tubes.

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At the Vancouver event: Douglas Yiu, Sales Manager of Korean Air Vancouver office; Youngdon Lim, Regional Manager of Korean Air Vancouver office; Hongbai Park, President of Jeju Tourism Organization; John Park, Director of Korea Tourism Organization Toronto office

Ian Rhee, General Manager of the Jeju Tourism Organization (JTO), says: “Whether you are here just for travelling or relaxation, there are unlimited things you can do ranging from outdoor activities to various theme parks or you can enjoy ocean views at the cafes. Take a tea class and enjoy the freshly made teas at the largest green tea farm on the island is also another way to explore the island as it is famous for its green tea products.”

Jeju Island has its own distinct culture that differs greatly from that of the mainland Korea, he added. Due to its special geographic location, both historically and in modern day, Jeju is a sought after and much-visited destination in Asia. The geographical evolution of the island is truly unique and offers a very different landscape and culture than the mainland of Korea.

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At the Toronto event: John Park, Director of Korea Tourism Organization Toronto office; Hongbai Park, President of Jeju Tourism Organization; Cheol Heum Hwang, Regional Manager of Korean Air’s Toronto office

John Park, Director of KTO, Toronto Office, added: “The island is famous for its strong winds, stone, and its women. Tourists will have a chance to experience and see Haenyeo, the female divers who played a key role in the economy of the island by harvesting seafood for many centuries.”

Visitors can meet the divers and learn more about the Haenyeo culture by visiting the Haenyeo museum or Aqua Planet, notes Rhee. They can also learn to become a Haenyeo by visiting the fishing village or experience life in the ocean as a Haenyo at the diving school. As it is a disappearing culture, the government is trying to preserve and encourage a newer generation to become a Haenyeo.

With the announcement of world’s second largest Grand Hyatt hotel, plus a Four Seasons hotel, set to open on the island in 2020, Hong-Bai Park, president of JTO, says he believes the new developments will give visitors more choices in the increasingly popular tourist destination.

Over 12 million passengers flew between Seoul and Jeju in 2016, making it the busiest air route in the world.

More information about Korea is at visitkorea.or.kr.