Busan's Tourism Jewels,
Potential in Spotlight

Port city hosts the Korea-China-Japan tourism ministerial meeting

Busan, having already been recognized for diverse natural attractions and international and regional events filled with thrills and fantasy, will be in the global spotlight as it plays host to the meeting of the tourism ministers of Korea, China, and Japan at BEXCO on June 22.
Approximately 500 government officials, tourism businesspeople and academicians from the three countries will assemble in Busan to discuss how to promote exchanges in the tourism industry.
They will discuss such issues as proposals for the removal of various barriers in the way of tourism promotion among the three nations and means to further cooperate for the development of sustainable and attractive tourism items.
The tripartite meeting will provide participants with good opportunities to get a glimpse into Korea's largest port city, rich with marine and other diverse tourism resources. The conference will open at 6 p.m. on June 22 at BEXCO, one of the nation's representative exhibition and convention centers.
A welcoming reception for the participants will be held on the deck of the cruise ship PanStar Honey, which made its maiden voyage this past April 2 to usher in an era of coastal cruises in Korea. The party attendees will be thrilled to see fireworks light up the sky in addition to the scenic night views of Busan.
The participating VIPs as well as tourists will embark on a familiarization tour to the Beomeo Temple, one of the largest Buddhist Temples in South Gyeongsang Province, and the Naktong River Eco Center, an observatory designed to watch the migrating bird habitat of Ulsuk Island at the river's estuary.
Officials of the Busan Metropolitan Government said Busan will propose ways of promoting cooperation among the three nations, including expanding direct flights among cities of the nations, providing support for facilitating the cruise industry and conducting the Busan-Shanghai-Osaka Golden Triangle Joint Marketing Activities. The metropolitan government will provide aggressive support to make the tripartite tourism ministers'
meeting a success by making perfect preparations in the convention, accommodation and tour sectors, they said.
Busan looks to seize the tripartite meeting as an opportunity to make another leap toward the goal of becoming an international convention and tourism hub, and it hopes to reestablish infrastructure by exploring new tourism items, promoting cooperation with related organizations and industries and stepping up networking, the officials said.
The Busan metropolitan government has already come up with a long-term tourism development strategy, calling for exploring the so-called "Only One"tourism products in six areas -- cruise, maritime, medical services, shopping, ecological experience and convention -- with the goal of making Busan a world-class tourism destination by 2020.
Concerning the development of maritime tourism products, Busan aims at making the most of the metropolitan city's rich tourism resources such as Dongbaek Island and Igidae Park, recognized for angling and scenic landscapes,
and build up such advanced infrastructure as the projected Songdo Tourism Theme Park in 2009, the Suyeong Bay Yacht Racing Course & Marina in 2010, the Dongbusan Tourism Complex in 2011 and the Haeundae Tourism Resort in 2013. New transportation such as amphibious buses, maritime taxis and coastal cable cars will be introduced.
Seven swimming beaches will be transformed into all-season tourist spots, and yachting, wind surfing and other diverse leisure sports programs will be developed.
The municipal government plans to foster the cruise industry as one of the metropolitan city's main tourism sectors, growing at an annual rate of 8.4 percent and predicted to continue at an explosive growth rate in the Northeast Asian region in the years to come.
The Korean cruise industry made a good start with the regular launch of a Korea-China-Japan cruise course by the Rhapsody of the Seas and a maiden Korean coastal cruise by the PanStar Honey in April 2008.
As part of efforts to build up the infrastructure for the development of the domestic cruise industry, Busan plans to expand the existing International Cruise Terminal, now capable of accommodating 120,000 ton-class cruise ships, to one capable of hosting a cruise ship of up to 200,000 tons, and complete an exclusive 120,000 ton-class cruise terminal by 2013.
For the development of the medical service/tourism sector, the metropolitan city government plans to designate the Haeundae and Seomyeon area as a special zone for offering medical services and build a complex where medical services, resort-type accommodations, shopping and dining are available under the so-called One-Roof System.
Currently, medical services are offered in five categories -- plastic surgery, beauty and oriental treatment, dental service and health checks. Busan plans to play a host to the 2009 International Medical Service/Tourism Expo in order to boost the medical service/tourism market.
In the culture and ecology sector,
Busan will push an integrated culture experience complex in which foreign tourists can experience such traditional heritage as traditional wedding ceremonies and ceramic production in one location.
Busan Mayor Hur Nam-sik told the YTN TV Channel, "All tourist cities have such integrated tourism infrastructures as medical services/tourism and cruise in common. In addition to the existing tourism convention bureau, Busan plans to establish a regional tourism organization to specialize in the expansion of tourism facilities and the development of tourism complexes. Regional consultation committees will be inaugurated into three spheres to explore tourism products suitable for each region of the city.

Busan has gained global recognition as a world-class maritime, culture and tourism center as it has successfully hosted such international events such as the 2002 FIFA World Cup final drawing, the 2002 Busan Asian Games, the ITU Telecom Asia 2004, and the APEC Summit in 2005.
Busan may be one of the nation's most dynamic metropolises as it shows off a world of scenic natural wonders and fascinating tourist attractions and diverse, world-class festivals. The city hosts numerous regional and international festivals, many of which highlight regional points of interest or blend in naturally with the four seasons, such as the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF), the Busan Sea Festival, the Busan International Rock Festival and the annual Busan Jagalchi Festival.
Each October Busan is transformed into a city of international events highlighting the newest and most exotic tourist attractions. One of the month's representative festivals is the PIFF. The PIFF has established itself as one of the world's most energetic film festivals and the largest one in Asia as the annual film festival provides an opportunity for promising Asian directors and producers to hold productive and effective meetings with producers and investors from around the world for joint productions.
Tourists visiting Busan every October would have a wonderful opportunity to visit the Jagalchi Market where they can explore the tastes and sights of the sea. The festival, designated as an important regional event by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, has emerged as one of the nation's famous festivals catering to international tourists. The festival comprises four programs featuring events such as a fishing rite of praying for the safe return of fishermen with a full boat, a large-scale road play event called Gilnori and a raw fish-preparing contest. The Boiso (See) Program is designed to give visitors an opportunity to witness first-hand Korea's ajumma (middle-aged women) participating in a raw fish slicing and cooking spectacle, called the Jagalchi Ajimae (Aunty) Contest. Highlights of the Oiso (Come) Program include the Standard Quantity Contest of Sliced Raw Fish, the Bare-Handed Sea Eel Catching Contest, the Sea Eel Relay Race and the Foreigners'Cooking Contest. Diverse seafoods will be available at the Seafood Surprise Auction at a discounted rate under the Saiso (Buy) Program.
Take a look at Korean cultural programs and major tourist products the port city offers to tourists both international and domestic. Tourists can sample or learn Korean traditional culture such as the tea ceremony, traditional bows and how to wear hanbok (traditional Korean costume) when they visit the Tea Ceremony Museum at Pusan Women's College.
Some of the major tourist attractions include Haeundae Beach, one of the Eight Wonders and the largest beach in Korea; Gwanganni Beach; the Gwangan Grand Bridge, Korea's longest suspension bridge at a breath-taking 7.42 km long and double-decked; Taejongdae; Jagalchi Market; Mt. Yongdu Park; UN Cemetery; Mt. Geumjeong Fortress; Beomeo Temple; and the Busan Museum. NW

Nurimaru APEC House, the venue of the 3rd Korea-China-Japan Tourism Ministerial Meeting

Busan Mayor Hur Nam-sik

BEXCO, the convention center where the opening ceremony of the upcoming ministerial meeting and a tourism forum will be held.

Busan looks to explore the maritime, cruise, medical services, shopping and ecological experience and convention sectors with the goal of developing the port city into a world-class tourism destination by 2020.

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