Yoon apologizes for Busan's Expo bid failure; Mayor open to 2035 rebid
AI robots to aid English education in Seoul schools
Samsung promotes execs in 30s, 40s for future growth
State-run body says 'cannot hire women' applicants
As streaming services raise fees, some turn to illegal streaming sites
Discrimination or not? Museum denies foreigners access to programs citing language barrierBy Choi Jae-hee
Published : Dec. 13, 2021 - 16:13
Even if the foreigner is OK with not having an interpreter or has a native Korean speaker to help, the museum is apparently reluctant to accept the guest, warning, “The translation (by another guest) may be restricted if it disturbs other participants of the program.”
The museum in question – Osulloc Tea Museum – is one of Jeju Island’s most popular tourist spots.
Opened in September 2001 and located near the scenic Seokwang tea fields in Seogwipo, it is the first tea museum in Korea designed to introduce and promote the nation’s traditional tea culture. As of 2020, more than 15 million people have visited the venue, it says, with some 20-30 percent of those being foreign visitors.
The museum itself is free of charge and is open to everyone, regardless of nationality.
The policy prohibiting foreign guests applies only to special programs designed to provide visitors a deeper understanding of Korean tea culture and a chance to explore the art of tea blending, brewing and tasting.
On Naver’s booking platform, where those wishing to book a guided museum tour or a tea class should buy tickets in advance, the site states: “no foreigners allowed.”
While respecting the museum’s management policy, some foreign nationals have expressed disappointment, even feeling somewhat offended by the phrase the company uses on the reservation page.
“I don’t expect the museum to offer special treatment for foreign visitors. Regardless of language barriers, I think foreign and Korean visitors should have the same access to reservation of tourist programs. Even though the museum doesn’t provide interpretation services, I’d like to visit there to be familiar with Korean words as well as to enjoy Korean tea culture,” said Holmes, a 31-year old British national living in Seoul, one of the members of a local expat community on Facebook.
To an official inquiry by The Korea Herald, the Osulloc museum said the policy is because “all the programs are carried out in Korean and the staff can’t offer translation services.”
In response to this report, Amorepacific said Thursday that the museum did not intend to discriminate against foreigners. The controversial phrase on the booking site was deleted Tuesday and foreigners are welcome to book its programs, it added.
“Osulloc Tea Museum is trying to provide the best possible experience for foreign customers. (...) We are planning to launch various activity programs in foreign languages in the near future,” the firm said in an official statement sent to The Korea Herald.
BOK holds key rate steady, cuts 2024 growth outlook
Yoon revives policy chief of staff position
NK will never discuss 'sovereignty' with US, says Kim Yo-jong