Camping rally promotes nation’s great outdoors

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Camping rally promotes nation’s great outdoors

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Chang Kyung-woo

The 83rd FICC Wanju International Rally kicked off July 31 at the Mugunghwa Auto Campground and Gosan Recreational Forest in Wanju, North Jeolla.

Organized by the International Federation of Camping, Caravanning and Autocaravanning (FICC), the event runs until Sunday.

“This is the best camping experience that transcends borders and language,” remarked Chang Kyung-woo, the chairman of the 2015 83rd FICC Wanju International Rally.

The rally, under the theme of rest and relaxation this year, invites outdoor camping enthusiasts from around the world.

Caravanning refers to the concept of camping and traveling via car, usually pulling a recreational vehicle or trailer, in which outdoor gear and everyday amenities are stored. It is a well-known pastime in Europe, North America and Australia, and has also recently spread in Korea among nature lovers.

The Muguhwa Auto Campground can accommodate 33 caravans, and 144 individual tents are provided. Space for nine caravans and 39 lodgings are available at Gosan Recreational Forest.

The event included outdoor concerts, including performances by pop stars Tae Jina, Hong Jin-young and the boy band Infinite.

Chang admitted that organizing the event wasn’t easy: Many campers canceled their reservations due to concerns about the recent outbreak here of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which has yet to be officially declared over.

“When the situation was at its worst, there were only about 50 foreign participants who decided to join the camping event,” Chang said. “But the situation got better and our efforts to inform people about the event … worked out pretty well.”

According to Chang, about 400 foreign attendees from 15 nations took part in the rally, along with about 1,200 Korean campers.

On Friday, the organizing committee held Wanju Night, which featured performances by Ham Jung-ah and Lee Chang-sun, a Daegeum (a horizontal bamboo flute) player.

“It was a meaningful event for the city and the organizing committee because we were able to promote Wanju’s true values and tourism attractions to a multinational audience,” Chang said. “We could also see that Koreans have already successfully adopted camping and caravanning as a family pastime and as a way to spend their holidays.

BY HONG SANG-JI [kwon.sangsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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