Sustainable Tourism and Community Development in Jeju Island, South Korea
Asia

Sustainable Tourism
and Community Development
in Jeju Island, South Korea

While South Korea may not be the first destination you think of when you think of sustainable travel, it should be! Community development and sustainable tourism are headed to Jeju Olle, South Korea in a big way! The social cooperative aspect of villagers and the government working together, is just one feature of the area’s community project  and ecotourism development. Keep reading for more on the sustainable tourism and community development of Jeju Island in South Korea. 

Where Is Jeju Island?

Seonheul can be found on Jeju Island, which is the southernmost and largest island of South Korea. The island has a population around 670,000, and was formed about 2 million years ago by the eruption of an underwater volcano. Thanks to tourism in South Korea, Jeju Island has been designated as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, a Geopark and a Biosphere Reserve.

In South Korea both urban and rural landscapes are tied to modes of production and changes in social relationships. These are deeply entwined to government development policies, including ecotourism and community development. Both of these can be seen in the development of Jeju Island as a ecotourism community project.  

Community Tourism In South Korea

You may be wondering, what is the benefit of community tourism in South Korea? These community projects often lead to cultural development of local communities. It also brings environmental Improvement to these local communities in South Korea. 

There are several ways to volunteer on Jeju Island, including working for room and board at places like Hyeupjae Guest House this bring more tourists and tourism to the island. 


The Jeju Olle Trails Thru Hike 

The rapid influx of travelers to Jeju Island has caused some major environmental problems, which may be reduced through volunteer tourism. One of the main draws for travelers and for volunteer tourists to Jeju Island is the Jeju Olle trail system, which was part of the community development initiative. 

This is a path that connects nature, community, and culture for travelers to the island. Hikers can discover over 135 villages and what life is like in each of the villages along the way. Additionally, there are over 130 Oreums, beaches, and local attractions along the trail system. Things like culture, food, fishing, museums, volcanoes, beaches, forests, fields, agriculture … You will discover Jeju Island from a completely different perspective! This trail is a great way to enjoy both nature and the culture of the island by traveling on foot (the most sustainable way to travel). 

Travelers do need to prepare for this thru hike as it is 437 km (271 miles) and a total of 27 routes. Walking the trail is a fantastic way to participate in both the community development and the sustainable community project. If this sounds interesting but you aren’t prepared to go it alone on a hike like this you can join a tour. Trazy offers a Wander Jeju on Foot: Jeju Island Olle Trail Trekking Tours

The Jeju Olle Trail brings community tourism by getting travelers to more remote places on the island. It also brings travelers to points of interest that they typically would not find on their own. These things include restaurants, museums and agricultural activities. 


Was community development of Jeju Island successful? In terms of sustainable tourism, absolutely. One of the best ways to experience this is through hiking the Jeju Olle trail system. Not only is trekking one of the most sustainable ways to travel but you will be shocked by how much you learn about the country using this mode of tourism in South Korea.

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