August 09, 2018 11:11
Holidaymakers are shunning the beaches of the east coast because they are simply too hot this record summer. Parking lots are half empty and restaurants have no customers as the sun beats down relentlessly.
The number of visitors to the beaches on the east coast soared to 29.4 million in 2010 but has never reached that peak again and fewer than 20 million visitors are expected this year.
According to the Gangwon provincial government, only 13.2 million people had visited the 93 beaches on the east coast as of Tuesday, down 14 percent from last year.
Heat advisories remained in effect for 24 days in Gangneung, Goseong, Samcheok, Sokcho and Yangyang.
"The sand is too hot to walk barefoot on," said Ham Jin-sik, a provincial official. "Skin burns easily after a brief walk. How can you swim in this weather?"
But Haeundae Beach in the southern city of Busan has been crowded since it opens at night. Visitors are allowed to swim until 9 p.m.
Some 70,000 people visited the beach over the past 12 days, and about 18,350 have enjoyed an evening swim, an increase of some 62 percent on-year. But the total number of visitors still fell about five percent from 8.4 million last year to 7.9 million this year.
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