Andong City in the Republic of Korea is a city of festivals, culture and tourism. The Mayor of this city is Mr. Young-Sae Kweon. He was the host of the virtual Asian Leadership summit last week by AMFORHT.
Andong is a city in South Korea and the capital of North Gyeongsang Province. It is the largest city in the northern part of the province with a population of 167,821 as of October 2010. The Nakdong River flows through the city of Andong which is a market center for the surrounding agricultural areas.
This was an opportunity for city leadership to speak to top leaders in the world of tourism and pitch the idea of a global initiative and make known the importance of small cultural cities of the world.
Strongly hit by COVID-19, the Mayor said this crisis is also an opportunity for his city and the meeting was an important milestone for the future of the important travel and tourism industry of Andong.
Andong has 5 World Heritage cites and normally receives 1 million visitors a year. The mask festival gets participants from 20 countries. The Hahoe Folk Village is perhaps the most notable folk village in South Korea. This village is listed by the South Korean government with UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 2010 along with Yangdong Folk Village.
Andong is also a home for Confucian studies and academies during the Joseon Dynasty. The notable examples of seowon, or Confucian academy, are Dosan Seowon that enshrines Yi Hwang, Byeongsan Seowon for Yu Seong-ryong, Imcheon Seowon for Kim Seong-il, Gosan Seowon, Hwacheon Seowon, and others. Other notable visitor destinations are Sisadan, Jirye Artists’ Colony, Bongjeongsa temple, and Andong Icheondong Seokbulsang aka Jebiwon Stone Buddha.
Andong has Andong Dam. In the area where Andong Dam is located, there is a monument to the Andong Samil Movement to honor the March 1 Movement. In addition, there are Wonmom theme parks and Unbu parks.
The Mayor pointed out that Andong when it comes to cultural resources in small cities, is the most representative city of Korea. Andong has all the ingredients to become an international cultural tourism center in the world. Citizens of this city realize the biggest value is the communication with the world, international cooperation, and outreach.
The Mayor admitted the challenges ahead with COVID-19, but also said, “We overcame the Spanish flu in the past, and humanity will overcome this crisis and emerge even better out of this.” The city is working with its biological institute on the development of a vaccine.
The city is building a new type of tourism where families can enjoy together while staying apart, where more young people travel to experience nature.
“Cultural diversity is the biggest fruit of tourism. Tourism can strengthen its value through exchange of ideas and global discussions,” Mayor Kweon said.
Andong was recognized by participating former UNWTO Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai when he spoke about the experience he had when he visited with his wife. “I can’t wait to visit again,” said Rifai.