Airports to Give Tourists Convenient Access to Remote Islands

By 2020 tourists may be able to fly to Ulleung Island, the nearest inhabited island to Dokdo and Heuksan Island off the coast of South Jeolla Province.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced on Wednesday a plan to build one airport on Ulleung and another on Heuksan for small 50-seater jets.

This would put them within an hour's flight of any destination in Korea. Ulleung Island, a popular tourist destination in the country, drew about 415,000 tourists last year, while Heuksan Island saw 227,000 tourists during the same period.

But it has been inconvenient to travel to the two islands until now because it requires a sea journey of more than seven hours from the Seoul metropolitan area, and ferries are often cancelled in the event of bad weather.

The ministry plans to spend W493.2 billion (US$1=W1,042) on building a 1.1-km runway on Ulleung Island by 2020. Another W143.3 billion will be spent on a 1.2-km runway on Heuksan Island by 2019.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 10, 2014 11:30 KST