The Federation of Korean Industries thinks that Hallyu fans will flock to previously abandoned islands with themes focused on popular stars like Kim Soo Hyun or EXO. On June 28, Yonghap News published an article which outlined a proposal which would suggested the sale of small deserted islands to fan clubs that are dedicated to top Hallyu stars. According to the report, representatives for the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) provided the suggestion to address a recent drop in tourism dollars, which is largely attributed to the MERS outbreak.
"Let's make uninhabited islands dedicated to Kim Soo Hyun or EXO island," said a representative for the FKI.
The choice of EXO and Kim Soo Hyun as examples for the project demonstrates their impact on the Korean Wave (Hallyu Wave). Their international reach is exemplified through their current position as ambassadors for Lotte Duty Free and other endorsements.
Officials for the federation went on to justify its rationale for the proposal. "FKI sees the opportunity for foreigners who come to Korea for the Hallyu Wave," said an official for FKI.
The representative went on to highlight the potential for the island masses and tourism revenue, particularly Hallyu enthusiasts from China and Japan. The article outlined concerns from FKI regarding anachronistic practices within the tourism industry, that negatively impact visitors from abroad.
The Korean government has been instrumental in generating international attention for Hallyu, as a cultural export. Entities such as the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) is dedicated to the task of promoting Korea's cultural technology, so the idea of using Hallyu to aid the economy is not unique.
Korean citizens delivered mixed reactions to the report. The biggest concerns regarding the proposition involved the names that would be given to the land masses. Many were supportive of generating interest from tourists but did not think it was appropriate to christen islands with the names of pop idols or actors, who could lose popularity within as little as five years.
One of the top trending comments on the article provided a suggestion which may appease critics. "Rather than naming a whole island after a star, create a small Hallyu park on it."
What are your thoughts on this push to gain more Hallyu tourists? Would you visit Kim Soo Hyun or EXO island?
About the writer: Adrienne Stanley is a contributing editor for KDramastars. She is also a contributing writer for Kpopstarz, MTV Iggy and CJ Entertainment's KCON blog. Her passions include a love of K-pop and Asian drama. When she is not writing, she is hanging out on Twitter (@retrogirladdy).
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