‘Fish cake full, old-fashioned sweets $15’…K-Tourism ‘solid’ on bargain prices
On the day the government announced a plan to increase the number of foreigners visiting South Korea from 17.9 million (as of 2019) to 30 million by 2027먹튀검증, the controversy over overpriced tourist attractions is spreading among consumers, as if to scoff at the idea.
According to the industry on June 6, the KBS2 entertainment program “1 Night 2 Days Season 4,” which aired on the afternoon of the 4th, showed a scene where the cast visited a traditional market in Yeongyang-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do, and bought gifts and sweets, which were sold at excessive prices.
Three bags of each flavor were shown, each weighing just over 1.5 kilograms. The price per 100 grams was 4499 won, which is 68,569 won per bag, but the shopkeeper rounded up and asked for 70,000 won. At the higher-than-expected price, the cast members asked to reduce the amount of sweets, but they refused for reasons such as “it was already packaged” and “I ate it earlier,” so they ended up buying old sweets at a compromise price of 140,000 won.
Each person who watched the broadcast criticized the overly expensive price on social networking services (SNS) and community boards, and the controversy spread like wildfire.
Capturing one night and two days
The same problem also occurred at the recent Hampyeong Butterfly Festival. On March 28, Japanese YouTuber Yui Pong, who has 600,000 subscribers, posted a video about her trip to Jeonnam. She went to the Hampyeong Butterfly Festival and was surprised by the price of food at the stalls.
According to his own travel rules, he was only allowed to spend KRW8,000 in Hampyeong County, but the menu (diet) he could eat was very limited. The prices of the food he asked the street vendors were 5,000 won for a cup of conch, 40,000 won for barbecued pork, and 10,000 won for a bowl of oden.
She asked the vendors if she could buy just 5,000 won worth of fish cakes, but they said, “We don’t sell that much.” “Is this a true story about the cost of living in Korea?” she asked, and chose a cup of pupa and a sausage for 4,000 won each to fill her stomach.
The controversy grew, leading to an official apology from Hampyeong County, Jeollanam-do. “The video was shot at a private street vendor, not at the Hampyeong Butterfly Festival,” the county said, “and we will strengthen hygiene and price inspections not only at the festival site but also at nearby businesses during local festivals.”
An official from an organization related to small businesses said, “(The recent controversy) is not about those who sell at festival venues, but those who roam. There are 40,000 street vendors nationwide, and it’s hard to keep up with them.”
On May 5, amidst the criticism, the government announced an ambitious goal to increase the number of foreign tourists visiting South Korea annually to 30 million by 2027. Most of the policies focused on improving the convenience of foreign tourists, but the response has been lukewarm. This can be explained by the recent controversy over exorbitant prices.
An official from a small business organization said, “Recently, one of the most famous managers in the domestic restaurant industry has been shouting on YouTube numerous times that the local area can only be saved by eliminating frivolous charges, but it is difficult to sustain.” “It is frustrating that there are areas that neither the government nor the merchants’ association can manage,” he said.