A hanok village in Jeongju, North Jeolla Province is expected to hit the 5-million mark in terms of its annual number of visitors this year. The soaring popularity of the cluster of over 700 traditional Korean homes is also helping to revitalize the neighboring area, which is rich in historical assets from the Chosun period including Confucian shrines and ancient buildings.
When it was first developed as a tourist site in 2002, the village received just 310,000 visitors. But the figure has since grown from 1 million in 2006 to 4.93 million last year. It is expected to surpass 5.1 million this year.
With a steady increase in visitors, the number of shops there has grown from around 100 to 305 over the last three years. It now has 55 eateries, 45 traditional tea houses, 68 accommodation facilities and 70 craft stores.
Neighboring areas are also booming, and the number of shops in the surrounding areas will likely increase from 165 in early 2011 to 250 within this year.
Accommodation facilities in the old downtown area are also seeing more customers, particularly on weekends. Ryu In-pyeong, a professor at Jeonju University, said Jeonju Hanok Village has become one of the nation's main tourist attractions, while also providing economic benefits to local communities.