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Posted : 2009-02-12 17:43
Updated : 2009-02-12 17:43

Is Korea Ready for Nude Beach?

By Bae Ji-sook
Staff Reporter

Jeju Island officials are considering a plan to turn one of its tourist spots into the nation's first ever nudist beach in a bid to attract visitors from across the world.

Jungmun Beach, a favorite summer vacation spot among Koreans, has reportedly attracted ``undressed" foreigners who apparently wish to enjoy the sun while naked.

The Jeju government believes that if the area were designated as a nude beach, more foreigners would be attracted to the island and enjoy its natural beauty.

``It will be the nation's first and the island will compete with world-renowned places such as Nice in France or Lighthouse Beach in the United States,'' said Kang Tae-seok, a Jeju government official.

During a recent meeting, most residents were reported to have shown a positive response to the place, based on the assumption more foreign tourists would visit the island.

However, experts remain cautious. Jon Huer, a sociology professor at UMUC-Asia, said there still seems to be a gap between the idea of a nude beach and the Korean reality.

``I am sure it will attract foreigners and congregate curiosity. But I am not sure whether Korea is ready for it. It won't modernize Korea, nor make it an open place,'' he said.

It is not the first time that local governments have sought to create a nude beach. Gangwon Province tried, but had to drop the plan in the face of public antipathy toward nudity.

Supporters say the idea of nude beach means more than simply showing off a naked body.

bjs@koreatimes.co.kr

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