The Gamcheon Cultural Village of Busan, which remained an outback district in the middle of urban center, drew a total of 304,992 visitors including 31,244 foreign visitors last year. It was a huge success with the number of the tourists exceeding 30 times the population of the local residents (9,677 people). The number of visitors to this Village increased explosively last year from the 25,000 visitors (1,500 foreigners) in 2011 and 98,348 visitors (3,000 foreigners) in 2012 through word of mouth.
This Village, which was the site of residence of the refugees during the Korean War, began to call attention when the students of Dong-A University drew murals in the Village as a part of their voluntary service activities in 2008. The Busan City and Saha-gu began to imbue breath of life into the Village by installing works of art and drawing murals in the intricately intertwined narrow alleyways in 2009. Village art projects, contents convergence type tourism cooperation projects, and hillside and mountainside Renaissance projects were executed.
Photograph and graffiti galleries, small scale museums, Haneul Maru, House of Darkness (for observation of the constellation), cafés and restaurants, and alleyway tourist information booths were installed in the houses that were not occupied. Workplace and experience workshop for the ecology cartoonist, western painting, dyeing artists and ceramic artists were established. The residents assertively participated in the projects.
The Village Resident’s Association created employment opportunities by operating coffee shops, restaurants and tourist information booth. Creative city culture village was born through city regeneration project. Mr. Lee Gyoung-hun, the mayor of Saha-gu, stated we will establish representative tourist destination of Korea by operating diverse range of programs that can satisfy the tourists and local residents.
Source: Busan City News