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Incheon International Airport wins best airport title for 7th straight year

South Korea’s Incheon International Airport has won the award for best airport in the world for the seventh consecutive year, the world’s leading airports organization said Friday.

south korea international airport
Incheon International Airport (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

At an awards ceremony in Singapore Thursday, the Incheon airport, Seoul’s main gateway, received the award for Best Airport Worldwide 2011 after ranking highest in an annual survey of passenger satisfaction, the Airports Council International (ACI) said. Continue Reading

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Jeju Island chosen among ‘New7Wonders of Nature’

The southern South Korean resort island of Jeju has been named as one of the new seven natural wonders of the world in a worldwide poll, a Switzerland-based organization announced Saturday.

The subtropical volcanic island, located 130 kilometers off the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula, was selected along with Brazil’s Amazon region, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Argentina’s Iguazu Falls, Indonesia’s Komodo National Park, the Puerto Princesa Underground River in the Philippines, and South Africa’s Table Mountain, according to the New7Wonders foundation in Zurich.

Jeju Island had been vying against 27 other natural sites in a project initiated by the Switzerland-based nonprofit organization in 2007.

Voting to select the New7Wonders began in July 2009 on the Internet and by phone, with the last vote being received on Friday. Continue Reading

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Mobile Wi-Fi to boost tourism on South Korea’s Jeju island

South Korea’s southern resort island of Jeju will become saturated with mobile wireless internet, which will likely boost the island’s tourism industry, telecom titan KT Corp. said Tuesday.

KT installed mobile Wi-Fi (wireless-fidelity) services along major roads and at tourist attractions on Jeju island, Pyo Hyun-myung, president of KT’s mobile business group, told reporters.

Coverage will reach 95 percent of the region’s tourist attractions by the end of next month, he said.

It also plans to expand the number of Wi-Fi hotspots on the 1,848-square-meter island from 900 to 1,500 by the end of this year.

KT established a type of mobile Wi-Fi service called Wireless Broadband (WiBro) in 82 Korean cities earlier this year to meet explosive wireless data demand from data-gobbling smartphone users. Continue Reading

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Forgotten trails in DMZ fit for trekking

Just an hour’s drive from the jostling metropolis of Seoul lie trails nearly untouched by humans for six decades, tempting adventurous hikers seeking pristine landscapes and scenes from the Korean Peninsula’s unfinished war.

But up until now, the overgrown routes just south of the Demilitarized Zone — a 259 kilometer strip of rugged no-man’s land stretching from coast to coast — have eluded most trekkers, except those with local knowledge.

This weekend, the government of Gyeonggi Province, which borders the DMZ, is unveiling a total of 182.3 km of courses in the area. It plans to post a map on its Web site and has started marking trails as part of a strategy to boost eco-tourism.

Trekking Sites near Seoul Korea

“If you come and visit this area, you can get a first-hand experience of the reality on the Korean Peninsula, which has been divided for over half a century, and also see a beautifully protected natural environment,” says Han Bae-soo, who is in charge of the project.

The courses include a dozen major routes passing through the cities of Gimpo, Goyang, Paju and the county of Yeoncheon, and vary in length from 8 to 21km — three to seven hours’ walk for an adult. Continue Reading

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Incheon International Airport voted best airport for 5 straight years

South Korea’s Incheon International Airport (IIAC) has been voted the world’s best airport by the Airport Council International (ACI) for the fifth straight year, the airport said in a statement Tuesday.

The IIAC scored the highest marks in the ACI’s annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Award, receiving the top honor in three categories to become the Best Airport Worldwide, Best Airport in Asia-Pacific, and Best Airport with annual passenger traffic between 25 and 40 million, according to the IIAC.

The IIAC scored 4.99 points out of a perfect five, which was the highest points ever awarded in the survey’s history, by way finishing at the top spot from 2005 to 2009, the longest winning streak ever as well, the statement said.

“Winning the top honors in the ACI survey as the best airport for five consecutive years is the result of the combined efforts of the government and 35,000 airport employees who have consistently delivered excellent service every year,” C.W Lee, president and CEO of IIAC said in a statement.

Singapore’s Changi International Airport and the Hong Kong International Airport were second and third respectively in the ranking, which was based on 250,000 responses from passengers that rated 34 airport services worldwide last year.

The award ceremony is scheduled to take place at the 5th ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly, Conference and Exhibition in Hainan, China on May 13th this year.

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South Korea aims to lure 8.5M foreign tourists this year

South Korea aims to attract 8.5 million foreign tourists this year by luring more visitors from China and Japan, the government said Saturday.

The target is higher than the 7.8 million goal the nation set the previous year. Last year, around 7 million foreign tourists visited South Korea, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Corp.

They set the higher target for this year as the government earlier designated the next three years as “Visit Korea” years, intended to lure more foreign tourists as part of efforts to bolster the service industry.

The ministry and the state-run tourism agency aim to attract more than 10 million foreign visitors in 2012.

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South Korean island smartens up ahead of ASEAN summit

South Korea’s Jeju Island is sprucing itself up, ready to greet visitors with various cultural events and programs ahead of the summit between President Lee Myung-bak and the leaders of Southeast Asian countries, the local government said Wednesday.

South Korea is set to host a series of summits and ministerial meetings among leaders of ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, on the country’s resort island of Jeju on June 1-2.

Jeju, a volcanic island dominated by South Korea’s highest mountain Halla, has been preparing thoroughly for the upcoming Korea-ASEAN summit, aiming to boost tourist recognition.

With a humid subtropical climate warmer than that of mainland Korea, Jeju has developed a culture and language that are distinct from the rest of the country due to the relatively isolated location. Home to thousands of local legends and myths, Jeju is considered a top vacation spot. Continue Reading

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