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Travel paused, but more visitors to Jeju Island Olle Trails Updated: 2021-04-04 14:55:01 KST

The pandemic has triggered a massive decline in demand for travel, but despite that, Korea's southern island of Jeju continues to thrive.
Some put it down to the island's ability to help visitors reconnect with nature at this stressful time.
Lee Eun-jin reports.
Trekkers on Jeju Island hike with the ocean as their backdrop.
The ocean breeze blows away their corona blues.
Follow the water, the trees, the trails and you start to notice the beauty of nature which may have been overlooked.

"I take a lot of comfort from nature. We live in the city, a forest of buildings This trail itself has much to give."

"Walking around each patch of grass looks fresh. I love that I can look at the names of the tree and the color of the soil."

Amid the pandemic, despite virus restrictions having caused a decline in travel across the country and overseas, more visitors are flocking to Jeju and the island's Olle hiking trails.

A survey carried out on 2-thousand people by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization, showed a decrease in those taking walking tours by 3.8 percent compared to the previous year.

But, among the participants, 24.9 percent were visitors to the Jeju Olle Trails, an increase of almost 10 percent, making it the most visited destination.

Around 2-thousand 700 visitors an increase of 71 percent from the previous year even completed all 26 Olle Trails which add up to around 400 kilometers.

A key factor in attracting so many visitors is that small groups of four or fewer people can take the time to enjoy nature.
It also reflects the latest trend of people preferring the outdoors instead of indoor tourist attractions.

"There aren't a lot of places for people to get some fresh air. Many people say that while it's difficult to meet people face-to-face, this is the ideal spot for a getaway into nature."

With fresh air and picturesque views, Jeju Olle hiking trails have become somewhere for people to escape to during the COVID-19 era.
Lee Eun-jin, Arirang News.
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