Jeju Island, South Korea, succeeded in a great achievement on November 28, 2013.
For the first time 10 million tourists visited the island in one year.
Until November 26, 2013, some 9.97 million had stepped onto Jeju. The 10 million mark was fully broken two days later after factoring in the 20,000 daily average off-season tourists.
Last year saw 8.95 million tourists by the same date, so an 11.4 per cent rise.
In 1966 only 100,000 tourists came to the island in one year. By 1983 that had increased to 1 million and by 2005 that number had increased further still to 5 million.
Within half a century or so Jeju has seen a remarkable progress in tourism development.
Comparing the island with others around the world sees that it beats Hawaii, Okinawa, and Bali for tourist visitors.
Jeju International Airport hosted a celebration ceremony to mark this historic occasion.
Kim Du-il and his family of Songpa-gu, Seoul, were the lucky tourists who took Jeju over 10 million.
They received flowers and commemorative dolhareubang (stone grandfather) statues presented by Governor Woo Geun-min. They family went on to give interviews to waiting reporters.
Pretty ladies wearing pretty dresses and playing traditional Korean instruments performed too.
Here we see the island’s dolhareubang mascot pose for photos with tourists.
Tangerines, a representative and famous product from Jeju, were given away for free.
In one corner a small photo exhibition was also held, displaying the island’s past and present tourism development.
This photograph is from the ceremony marking the 2 millionth foreign tourist earlier this year.
Among the total 10 million some 2 million have actually been foreign tourists. The vast percentage were of Chinese nationality.
The 2 million foreign tourist barrier was broken on October 15. Read about it here.
The money Chinese tourists spent on Jeju Island until September 20, 2013, was over 4643 billion won. Last year that figure was 402 billion won.
On a more local level sales at the island’s open markets continue to rise. Agricultural products are popular sellers. The Jeju government is keen to share these tourism profits with islanders as well.
In addition the off-season period is shrinking.
Other factors attributed to Jeju’s global rise in awareness include the UNESCO triple crown (with three UNESCO World Heritage sites, World Network of Biosphere Reserves, and Global Geoparks Network).
Jeju also received a New7Wonders of Nature designation in 2011.
Direct flights to the island have risen from 7 in 2003 to 57 in 2013.
In 2003 only 4 cruises stopped by disembarking 1,400 passengers. In 2013 187 cruises arrived carrying 380,000 passengers.
Finally Jeju has recorded first position as a place domestic tourists are most satisfied with two years in a row (2011 and 2012). The survey was conducted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
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