Last Friday was a busy one for President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea. Any day that includes a meeting with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is a major occasion in a region of the world where peace and security are issues. But President Lee had another item on his agenda on Friday. And for him, it was also of critical importance. Friday was the day on which he was voting for Jeju Island.
If Jeju is named one of the New7Wonders of Nature, the benefits will be significant, the president’s spokeswoman, Kim Hee-jung, told the Wall Street Journal. “It will improve our national image, and more tourists are expected to visit Korea,” she said.
The paper pointed out that Jeju attracted 777,000 foreign visitors last year, up from 460,000 in 2005. Among the factors that led to the growth were a visa-waiver program with 189 nations, an increased number of nonstop international flights and aggressive promotion of the island by the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province.