Pokemon Go action spreads to more places

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Pokemon Go action spreads to more places

The popularity of the augmented reality (AR) mobile game Pokemon Go does not seem to be fading in Korea. Last month, after Sokcho in Gangwon, the mobile game became accessible in Ganjeolgot, a cape in Ulju County in Ulsan.

Pokemon Go, which is also a popular video game franchise and an animated series, is a mobile game in which players can capture and collect creatures called Pokemon.

According to Ulju County on Thursday, about 250,000 Pokemon Go users and tourists came to Ganjeolgot in a month’s time, which is almost an average of 10,000 people per day, nearly 20 times the previous number of tourists. From July 23 to 24 there were 16,000 tourists, whereas from July 30 to 31 there were 28,000 tourists and from Aug. 6 to 7, there were 41,000 tourists.

The tourist spike was particularly noticeable during the holidays and weekends. During the National Liberation holidays, about 61,000 tourists visited Ganjeolgot. The Ulju County government views the influx of tourists as the result of a combination of various vacations and students interested in Pokemon Go.

Many restaurants and coffee shops in Ganjeolgot are reaping the benefits. An employee at a nearby coffee shop said, “When the news came that Pokemon Go was accessible in this area, we started to have more customers and our sales have increased.” To meet the demands of the customers, the coffee shop also hired a part-time employee.

Ulsan city government and Ulju County government are also to be credited for the way they have handled the massive influx of tourists.

Last month, the Ulsan city government and Ulju County government set up a situation room to help Pokemon Go players and installed multiple free Wi-Fi zones for smoother gameplay by cooperating with a telecommunications company. Also, they set up multiple tents, free smartphone charging stations and a medical emergency room.

An official from Ulju County government said, “We will do our best so that the Pokemon Go fever doesn’t die out and will even try to find ways to integrate the mobile game with the tourism industry.”

Pokemon Go is a free-to-play AR mobile game developed by Niantic, Inc. and licensed by Nintendo Co., Ltd. The mobile game was released last month in several countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Korea was excluded from the initial official release but the mobile game is accessible in Sokcho in Gangwon and Ganjeolgot in Ulju County in Ulsan.

BY KANG SEUNG-WOO [lee.soowhan@joongang.co.kr]

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