Aspiring actress named Korea’s Miss Tourism

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Aspiring actress named Korea’s Miss Tourism

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“I hadn’t imagined I would win,” said Lee Jin-young, on the verge of tears, when she was named winner of the Miss Tourism World 2006 Korea contest on Friday. Ms. Lee will now compete in South Africa for the Miss Tourism World title with representatives from more than 110 countries. The world pageant will run from September 30 to October 5.
It is the first time Korea will send a representative to the Miss Tourism World contest. The England-based Miss Tourism World Organization created the contest in 1995 to promote international tourism. Every year, more than 110 nations take part in the contest, promoting their culture and their country’s tourism infrastructure.
The Korean national final was a part of a Korea World Travel Fair held at COEX, southern Seoul, from Thursday to Sunday.
“We decided to select a Korean representative for the world contest in order to promote Korean tourism to the world more actively and attract more travelers to the nation,” said Park Joon-seok of Kotfa Co., host of the Korea World Travel Fair and Miss Tourism World 2006 Korea. “We’re also hoping to host the Miss Tourism World 2008 in Korea,” he continued.
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It’s doubtful, however, if Miss Tourism World 2006 Korea will be able to achieve Kotfa’s ambitious plan. Among 13 finalists, Ms. Lee was nearly the only one who spoke only Korean, while other finalists showed their linguistic abilities in Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, French and English. Ms. Lee, who is majoring in Broadcasting & Entertainment at the College of Performing Arts of Dongduk Women’s University, admitted to the JoongAng Daily she can’t speak a foreign language and hadn’t prepared much on tourism issues. The aspiring actress participated in the contest after her college professor recommended she do so, she added.
Mr. Park said that Ms. Lee’s lack of linguistic ability is a weakness, and he is concerned she may not be able to promote Korea very well to the world. “But linguistic ability was not the most important thing in the contest,” he said. “Linguistic ability and a background knowledge of tourism amounted to about 5 percent of the total score. Ms. Lee got the highest points among all finalists even though she received a lower score in that section.” Mr. Park added that Ms. Lee will be trained in manners, attitude and entertainment skills before she leaves for South Africa.
The criteria of the selection were how the contestants looked in swimsuits, business suits and hanbok (Korea’s traditional dress) and evaluation on their potential as tourism promoters. The contest was open to single Korean women aged 18 to 28.
The judges were Lee Pil-dong, president of the Wongagsa Theatrical Company; Kim Geon-hyeok, a plastic surgeon; Oh Jin-ho, a dentist; Lee Hoon-sook, head of the Seri Beauty Salon; Jin Hyang-ja, chief director of the Hanbok Association; Song Yoo-cheol, the president of Studio Photoin, and Lee Doo-shik, a director of Air Macau.


by Park Sung-ha
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