Word on that official site is that Gwangju's big fall festivals---the Chungjangno Festival, the Kimchi Festival, and the Design Biennale---will go on as originally planned:
신종 인플루엔자 확산 방지를 위해 내려졌던 정부의 ‘지방자치단체 축제 금지’ 지침이 바뀜에 따라 지자체들이 개최 여부를 놓고 고민에 빠졌다.
광주에서는 취소하거나 규모를 줄일 예정이던 ‘광주김치문화축제’와 ‘광주디자인비엔날레’ ‘충장축제’를 당초 예정대로 개최하는 방안이 검토되고 있다.
The Dong-A Ilbo reported the same, and that other local festivals and conventions planned for Gwangju and Jeollanam-do will go on as planned. The Chungjangno Festival will now run as originally planned, from October 13th through the 18th. The Design Biennale, originally scheduled to run from tomorrow, September 18th through November 4th, was abbreviated last week, but will now run through November 4th as originally planned.
Well, the local economy probably can't afford to cancel the entire season, though with other festivals in the area being cancelled, and with word already out about Gwangju and Jeollanam-do's cancellations, I'm sure attendance will be down. I wonder if complaints like those from the head of the Korea Tourism Organization are pressuring local authorities to force their events open.
The government's decision last week to cancel a multitude of festivities in provincial areas was inconsistent with the nation's ambition to become a tourism superpower, the head of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) said Monday.
"Many nations around the world have been hit by influenza A, but Korea is the only country to have taken such measures," KTO President Lee Charm said.
He made the remarks at his first official press conference since taking office 70 days ago.
"We looked into cases in the United States, France, Japan, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, etc. None of these countries instructed their local governments to cancel cultural or tourism plans as a countermeasure to the flu," he said.
"Simply avoiding crowded places is no solution. No one tells us to stop commuting on public transportation."
The Ministry of Public Administration and Security issued a set of instructions last week, urging local governments to "basically cancel large events lasting more than three days with over 1,000 participants."
But as kushibo has pointed out on his site, these fall festivals aren't attracting foreign tourists. Sure, foreigners go, but they're foreigners already in the country, and so-called "international" festivals don't attract international visitors unless they're invited. Also a major obstacle to attracting foreign visitors is the lack of English-language information . . . oh, that and frequently changing plans. But, since foreigners are not the target audience anyway, the lack of advertising or information shouldn't hurt numbers among them too much. I'll keep my eyes on these local festivals---thanks to KoreaMaria for letting me know about the change---but I'm not making many long-term plans this fall.