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S. Korea to boost tourism near fortified border

According to Yonhap News,

(HWACHEON=Yonhap News) South Korea will boost tourism in the heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas to promote eco-tourism and help foreign travelers gain a better understanding of the nation's history and division, the state tourism agency said Friday.

The southern part of the DMZ, a 259 kilometer strip of rugged no-man's land stretching from coast to coast, has attracted a growing number of foreign tourists who want to experience the pristine landscape and witness the reality of the divided Korean Peninsula. The 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire without signing a peace treaty, leaving the two Koreas technically at war.

In response to the growing demands, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) held a workshop near an observatory in Hwacheon, located 118 kilometers northeast of Seoul, with the attendance of some 100 government officials, experts and industry officials.

It is the first time such a conference involving civilians has been held just at the foot of the military demarcation line.

The KTO said it will develop various tourism programs and raise awareness jointly with the provincial governments bordering North Korea.

"We will develop DMZ as a world tourism destination to prepare for the reunification of the Korean Peninsula and contribute to the national economy," Park Byung-jick, a senior KTO official said.

The area has emerged as a hot tourism spot as several fans of sensational TV series "Descendants of the Sun" have visited its filming sites.

The provincial government of Paju, the filming site of the in Camp Greaves, announced a plan to turn the former U.S. military camp near DMZ into a tourism spot.

The culture ministry also plans to develop the former mining cities of Taebaek and Jeongseon in Gangwon Province, the main venues of the drama, into tourist destinations where visitors can experience both traditional and contemporary Korean culture.

Premiering simultaneously in South Korea and China from February and April, the drama taking place on a fictional war-torn country has become the first Korean drama shown on weeknights to surpass 30 percent in nationwide viewership in four years.

Copyrights Yonhap News. All Rights Reserved.

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Source: Yonhap News (Apr. 29, 2016)
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