In the second of five articles looking back over 2013, we recall some of the tourism and heritage stories that made the news. And we also take a look at some of the stories about Korean food, given the increasing popularity of Korean cuisine of Korea.
Arts and Heritage
- Sungnyemun, the great Namdaemun gate, reopened on 4 May, fully restored 5 years after the arson attack that destroyed it. 5 months later damage was spotted leading to revelations that sub-standard materials had been used.
- The Seoul branch of Gwacheon’s MMCA opened. That won’t stop me going to Gwacheon though. There were accusations that one of the opening exhibitions had been censored by the Blue House.
- Kimchi making in South Korea was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage list, while the royal tombs in Kaesong were entered into the World Heritage list.
- It looks like Korea and Japan are in a race to register their diving women as intangible cultural heritage at UNESCO, with Japan’s ama leading Jeju-do’s haenyo.
- Korean art thieves stole two Korean Buddhist statues from Japan, intending to sell them. They smuggled them through Busan Customs “The statues were covered in dirt and rusty, so [Busan Customs officials] figured they were … fake”
- It was announced that Royal Seals removed from Korea during the Korean War would be returned from America. A Marine lieutenant had said he found them in a ditch outside the Deoksugung.
Travel and Tourism
Chinese tourists bring in the cash
- they like shopping in Gangnam;
- they come on wedding packages; and
- like taking pictures outside the Blue House
But there’s a flip side:
- They behave crassly in North Korea, for example, throwing sweets at children
- In Jeju, where they come in ever-increasing numbers, they ignore no-smoking signs, stand on the toilet seat and complain about lack of night life
In other tourism news,
- The Gangnam Tourist Information Centre isn’t performing up to expectations
- Yeosu is rather quiet compared with last year’s expo
- The Suncheon Garden expo beat visitor expectations and turned in a KRW16bn profit. Freebies were in short supply: the vast majority of the visitors, 87.7 percent, including LKL, paid admission to enter the event, a stark contrast to Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea, where just 50 percent of attendees purchased their tickets.
- High-profile sporting events are often a burden rather than a benefit.
Food: the edible Hallyu
- Actress Lee Young-ae promoted Bibimbap in the New York Times, in a full page advert sponsored by Dokdo activists www.forthenextgeneration.com. The advert also appeared in a Shanghai shopping street.
- Michelle Obama’s kimchi recipe went down well when she posted it on Twitter
- Hanjan, a Korean restaurant, made it into the New York Times top 10 list, part of a broader trend in upscale Korean eateries in Manhattan.
- CJ’s restaurant Bibigo in London was listed in the Michelin guide.
- The restoration of the royal kitchens in the Gyeongbok Palace neared completion.
- Kimchee restaurant in London, a sister operation to the Korean-owned Wasabi chain, opened two new fast-food outlets.
- The Joongang Ilbo interviewed five members of the Korean Cuisine Globalization Committee established under the Lee Myung-bak administration.
- Eight Korean foods were added to the Ark of Taste, an international catalogue of endangered heritage foods. They included a dwarf wheat from Jinju, an unruly black chicken from Chungcheongnam-do and a stripy cow from Ulleungdo.
- Korea’s kimchi deficit continued to grow.