▲ Jungmun native Jung Sook Hyun offers his wishes for a successful meeting of Asian leaders at the ASEAN Summit June 1 and 2 at ICC Jeju. Photo by Kim Gyongho
The whole of Jeju Island is getting ready for what is being called the biggest international event in years, the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit 2009.

The international meeting will be held June 1 and 2 at the International Convention Center Jeju, in Jungmun Resort, and marks the 20th anniversary of relations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Republic of Korea. Attendance at the event is expected to top 3,000, with heads of state from the 10 member nations, Korean President Lee Myung-bak, top government officials and corporate executive leaders. Participants will evaluate the 20-year relationship between ASEAN and Korea and discuss future collaborations and current global issues.

Jeju bested all competing cities for the Summit

A Korean government press release said the event is the largest and most important international event held in Korea since the 2005 Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ meeting in Busan.

Jeju beat out Seoul, Busan and other candidate cities to win the coveted convention in a search conducted by the Korean government. Jeju was tops in all aspects, including natural environment, convention facilities and operations, and customer satisfaction measurement.

ASEAN member nations are Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. While they are not members, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea are often included in summit talks, known as “ASEAN Plus Three.” The June summit in Jeju is being called ASEAN Plus One, as representatives from Japan and China are not attending.

All eyes on Jeju

While the summit will only last two days, the Jeju government is hoping the event will pay substantial dividends. The Jeju government predicts the event could be worth more than 260 billion won in terms of generating tourism revenue from the participants, and the exposure to Southeast Asian tourism markets.

Jeju Special Self-governing Province Governor Kim Tae-hwan said the selection will boost Jeju’s “brand image” to the world, and garner free publicity and marketing from media coverage of the event, which could attract more visitors from Southeast Asia.

In particular, the province is hoping to attract visitors from Singapore and Malaysia. It has launched a full-fledged marketing campaign aimed at major tour agencies in these countries and created several package tour programs. These include the Spring Flower Tour and the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites Tour.

According to government tourism figures, tourism from these countries is already up from last year. Visits by Singaporeans has increased 22 percent, to 3,755, while Malaysian visitors are up 67.8 percent, to 2,463.

Jeju has gone all out with beautification projects intended to make the best impression possible on the summit participants and accompanying media. Projects underway include renaming roads, hanging flags of the ASEAN nations, and planting thousands of flowers in high-visibility areas.

The first thing participants will notice on the drive from Jeju International Airport to Jungmun Resort will be “ASEAN Road,” formerly known as “Peace Road,” which connects Jeju City and the summit venue. Symbols from each of the 10 member nations will line the roadside.

A special road near the ICC is being designed to commemorate the event. “Road of Impressions” will feature flowers and symbols to further cement the favorable impression. Flower pillars will be installed along local roads and at the entrance to the Jungmun Tourism Complex, where summit guests will be staying. Flower beds around the ICC will also be filled to the brim with blossoms.

The convention center is undergoing a major facelift in preparation for the event. And or those arriving by air, perhaps helicopter, the government has spent 300 million won for the installation of rooftop gardens on 16 buildings.

Finally, the national flags of the member countries will be hung at major locations in Jeju City, along with the installation of promotional towers and arches.

Member nation flags have already been raised at approximately 20 locations around the island, including the Nohyeong Rotary in Jeju city and the Jeju World Cup Stadium in Seogwipo.

There are also numerous cultural events and activities planned around the island to keep the summit participants entertained in their leisure time and highlight Jeju’s cultural offerings.

Events include an orchestral performance and a poetry night, with readings of poems from the ASEAN countries and Korea.

Marcie Miller/Managing Editor Archives  
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)

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