Bukchon Hanok Village, situated east of the Gyeongbokgung palace in Jongno, is a cluster of old-style Korean houses that has attracted both local and foreign tourists in recent years. There are about 1,200 hanok structures in the Bukchon neighborhood.
The latest demographics data show that the number of people living in the Bukchon areas of Gahoe-dong and Samcheong-dong has steadily fallen as tourists numbers have gone up. In August 2017, the figure for Bukchon residents stood at 7,500, down 13.5 percent from 8,720 in 2012.
The residents of Bukchon have cited daily tourist-induced disturbances. According to the village committee, foot traffic up and down the small, winding streets of the village often undermines the residents’ privacy. Noise, difficulty in parking and litter were also cited. Useful resident amenities such as laundry shops and grocery stores are giving ways to cafes and restaurants for travelers as well.
The hanok village residents have claimed the Seoul Metropolitan Government is giving more benefits to one-time tourists than those who have lived in the area all their lives.
By Lim Jeong-yeo (firstname.lastname@example.org)