중앙데일리

Japanese island paradise for Koreans

Jan 09,2006
TSUSHIMA ― On the Japanese island of Tsushima (Daemado in Korean), all things Korean are causing a stir. With Tsushima the closest Japanese territory to Korea, Korean tourists are flocking here to enjoy fishing, shopping and the island’s natural surroundings. Since the start of a direct ferry service from Busan in 1999, numerous Korean investors have started new businesses here. Businesses catering to Korean tourists have prospered also.
The number of Korean tourists that travel to Tsushima has increased every year, from 9,615 people in 2001 to 38,008 in 2005, surpassing its population of 37,000.
Fishing is a major tourist attraction on the island, especially from the rocks on the seashore. Jung Won-ju, 35, a store owner, says, “Tsushima is a fishing heaven. Almost twice as many fish are caught here than on Jeju Island and the fish are at least 10 cm longer on average.”
Shopping and restaurant centers are significant enterprises for Tsushima ― one such offers 20 taverns and 30 snack bars, and as half the customers are Korean, the serving staff take orders in Korean and the jukeboxes include the latest Korean songs.
Following the success of tourist enterprises for Koreans, Korean businesses are starting to invest in Tsushima. In Izuhara, the chief town, a tourist hotel run by a Korean company has been built and more and more Korean companies are looking to purchase land in order to build other hotels. Three other small Korean companies provide motel-style accommodation and shipping services for tourists. Koreans are also buying land on Tsushima, valued at 100,000 to 6667,000 won ($102 to $682) per square meter, to build villas.
Besides fishing and shopping, travel agencies are also providing various nature and leisure packages such as scuba, hiking and history tours. Korean tourists get a chance to ruminate on Korea’s past as they visit the tombstone of Choi Ik-hyeon, a scholar of the Joseon dynasty, or the monument to Princess Deokhae.
Tsuji Hiroyuki, 51, the chief manager at a tourism office catering to Koreans, says, “The increase of Korean tourists in Tsushima is a big help to our economy as profits in restaurants, shops, hotels and motels are steadily increasing.”


by Song Bong-geun


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