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Riverside reservoirs become popular tourism attraction

Following the completion of the government’s Four Major Rivers Restoration Project, more than 7 million visitors flocked to the waterways over the eight months since the public opening on October 22 last year.

Originally geared towards enhancing water management capacity against repeated flooding and droughts, the rivers restoration project made steady progress over the past few years as one of the government’s leading green growth initiatives. The project has not only enabled Koreans to pass on a well-preserved ecology and a future of sustainable development to the next generation, but also led to revitalizing the local economies alongside an increase of tourists who cultivate greener pastime activities on the newly renovated waterfront spaces.

As of the end of May, the accumulated number of visitors to the four rivers sites reached a breakthrough of 5.3 million, quickly gathering an additional 1.7 million visitors in the following one-month period. On July 9, a total of 7.04 million visitors had been recorded according to statistics issued by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs.

Reservoirs situated at multiple locations across the four rivers sites have proven to be some of the most popular destinations, welcoming 3.23 million during the period, which accounts for 46% of the total visitors. About 2.59 million were estimated to have participated in various events held around the green waterfronts and sporting facilities set up along the waterway, whereas 850,000 bikers have explored the natural scenic vistas. A total of 370,000 campers have benefited from the newly built campsites alongside leisure activities and water sports.

The Gangjeong-Goryeong Weir of the Nakdong River in Gyeongsangnam-do (South Gyeongsang Province) received 680,000 visitors, becoming the most frequented reservoir partly thanks to its close proximity to one of Korea’s metropolitan cities, Daegu.

The gradually increasing presence of bike trails is also noticeable. The riverside trails attracted nearly 260,000 cyclists in May, and another 300,000 in June.

If you feel like indulging in the wonders of the outdoors, you might want to consider riverside auto-camping. The campsites currently in operation are located at the Ipo Weir of the Han River in Yeoju, at Hapgangjeong and Insamgol on the Geum River, and Seungchon Weir on the Yeongsan River. Two more sites are set to open in July at the Haman Weir of the Nakdong River and the Baekje Weir of the Geum River.

“We expect more tourists to visit the four river sites throughout summer especially at end of July, as the monsoonal front fades away, signaling the beginning of the peak summer vacation season,” remarked an official from the Office of National River Restoration under the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs. “We are pouring our efforts into devising ways to make camping a more convenient and memorable experience for visitors.”

An exhibition featuring a selection of riverside photography opened on July 20 at Nakdonggang Culture Center and will travel to eight weirs of the Nakdong River through August 26 (photos courtesy of K-water).An exhibition featuring a selection of riverside photography opened on July 20 at Nakdonggang Culture Center and will travel to eight weirs of the Nakdong River through August 26 (photos courtesy of K-water).

Meanwhile, the riversides of the Nakdong River are being turned into a venue for a traveling photography exhibition from July 20 to August 26, featuring a selection of aerial photography of the river and pictures that capture joyful moments of family outings along the waterfronts.

For more information or to book a camping facility, visit www.riverguide.go.kr (Korean only).

By Hwang Dana
Korea.net Staff Writer

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