[Letters]City must do more for Itaewon

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[Letters]City must do more for Itaewon

Thank you for the article, “Itaewon’s changing face: global food” (Feb. 17). As a 10-year resident of Itaewon, my family and I greatly enjoy the increased globalization of the restaurant offerings and appreciate the efforts of private business people and entrepreneurs who are making it all happen. However, I do agree with one comment made that “more efforts should be made to make the street as appealing ... as possible”. This is especially important at a time when the Seoul city government is investing abroad to attract tourism and foreign investment.

Any first-time visitor to Korea, whether a prospective investor, a business visitor or tourist, is most likely to be taken to Itaewon for shopping and/or socializing. Importantly, a significant number of foreigners who reside in the Yongsan area take advantage of the convenience of foreigner-friendly shopping and services in Itaewon and send their children to the nearby Yongsan International School.

Itaewon provides the district office and the metropolitan government a showcase opportunity to demonstrate that Korea can provide an international-standard living environment. The recent repaving project of the main street is a great start but much more should be done to smarten up the streets and alleys where these private food businesses are doing their part to globalize the area. For example, the alley behind Hamilton Hotel should be closed to traffic (except for deliveries within set times), paved to create a cafe-style outdoor dining experience in spring, fall and summer, and greened to create a more inviting social ambiance for tourists and residents. These and other changes would go a long way to making “the foreign restaurant street ... a key to attracting people to Itaewon.”

Les Edwards, Itaewon, Seoul
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