The trend of the so-called “touristification” of places, where infrastructure is being changed in favor of visiting tourists, has been growing slowly but surely. This summer, anti-tourism protests took place in Barcelona, where vandals were damaging rental bicycles and slashing the tires of city tour buses. As Korea attracts more tourists from all over the world, it is no surprise that the trend will affect Korea as well.
In particular, residents of the Bukchon Cultural Village have recently said that the Seoul Metropolitan Government is valuing tourists more than the locals, despite the latter spending a major part of their lives in this area. When visiting this place, one can see signs nailed in front of many houses in Bukchon asking not to be too noisy and to show respect for the privacy of the local people. However, such measures do not seem to be effective as there are crowds of loud tourists flooding the area. Garbage in the streets of Bukchon, the lack of parking spaces, and the oversaturation of streets with cafés and restaurants at the expense of other essential facilities such as barbershops and convenience stores are yet more issues experienced daily by local residents due to tourism in the area.
Demographical data shows that the Bukchon Village population has decreased by more than 1,000 people in five years, as reported by Hankook Ilbo. The complaints regarding the tourists, along with the data, suggest that the local government should pay attention to its citizens and attract tourists without damaging the lives of people residing in tourist areas.