Published : 2013-10-22 19:37
Updated : 2013-10-22 19:37
The Suncheon Bay Garden Expo ended with great success Sunday, having attracted more than 4 million visitors during its six-month run. President Park Geun-hye’s visit on the closing day was seen as a tribute to what the event hosted by the southern coastal city with a population of about 200,000 had achieved.
The successful hosting of the garden exposition near Suncheon Bay has laid the foundation for establishing the area as one of the major global destinations of ecological tourism. In 2006, the bay became Korea’s first coastal wetland to be registered with the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty aimed at preserving wetlands across the world. Organizers are planning to reopen the venue as a public garden in April next year, hoping to attract domestic and foreign tourists to the bay area all around the year.
A local research institute estimated that the garden expo would generate added value worth 679 billion won ($638 million) and create about 11,000 new jobs. This economic effect would more than offset the cost of hosting the event, which totaled 249.5 billion won.
The success of Suncheon gives many lessons to other municipalities around the country, which annually organize more than 2,400 events combined, most of which have drawn little attention, piling up deficits.
The garden expo stood out in its creativity and diversity. With its theme fitting the global community’s growing interest in protecting the environment and ecosystems, the festival offered a wide range of exhibitions, coupled with a variety of unique cultural performances and useful academic symposiums. Well-planned operations as well as quality accommodation and transportation services, backed up by enthusiastic volunteers, also contributed to achieving the goal of attracting 4 million visitors during the 184-day run of the event.
Other municipal governments and residents should try to combine these factors behind the success of the Suncheon garden expo, if they hope to host profitable and valuable festivals and other events on their own. Local administration heads should refrain, or be prevented, from arranging show-off events during their tenure without making a thorough review and preparation.
Central government officials need to work out specific guidelines to help each regional area develop proper events based on its own history, culture and nature, guaranteeing exclusive rights so that other districts cannot copy a popular one.