The ice-fishing festival under way here has drawn more than 800,000 visitors in just nine days since its opening last week, organizers said Monday.
According to local officials who organized the annual event, the number of visitors to the 2015 Hwancheon Sancheoneo Festival surpassed 185,000 on Saturday alone, hitting a new daily record.
On Sunday, the number was estimated at 155,000.
Of the total visitors so far, the number of foreigners was estimated at 15,000, including 1,400 on Sunday, according to the officials. This is about double the 7,500 foreign visitors to the festival in the first nine days.
The area of the festival was packed with fishermen waiting for a catch from more than 14,000 palm-sized holes dug into the ice.
Other rare experiences at the event included bare-hand fishing.
Visitors were also drawn to other goings-on organized with the festival, including a plaza of ice scultures, the largest indoor exhibit in the country, plus streets lit up with 24,000 lamps designed in the shape of sancheoneo, a type of mountain trout.
Some 200 specialists from home and abroad participated in an international symposium Monday to seek ways to restore and manage local species of sancheoneo. The local government of Hwacheon launched a sancheoneo restoration project in 2013 as part of its effort to preserve its indigenous culure.
Speakers in the symposium called for restoration of sancheoneo, including efforts to search for its breeding grounds through DNA analysis and farms to raise them.
"The symposium is expected to contribute to restoring sancheoneo and the ecosystem for the fish, and also to enhancing the quality of the festival as well as its globalization," Choi Moon-soon, head of the Hwacheon country government, said. "We will try our best to make the festival all the more safe and convenience for the visitors." (Yonhap)