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How to promote tourism

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By Chang Se-moon

Once I had been in London. We were just walking what appeared to be a tourist area near downtown. We needed a restroom. To our pleasant surprise, we found a nice-looking round-shaped one standing alone in the street with restroom sign. We needed coins to open the restroom. We did not have coins and there were no places nearby where we could have changes. We gave up.

The City of Mobile where I lived for many years is quite popular for visitors. In downtown, however, there is no public restroom. Actually, there is one hiding behind the railroad track, not visible to visitors to downtown. There is no sign directing visitors to the restroom.

Myung-dong, north of Han River in Seoul, is one of the most popular places among visitors to Seoul. There may be one somewhere, but I never found a public restroom in and around Myung-dong.

A couple of years ago, we joined a group, touring New England states in the U.S. The tour bus stopped at a popular apple store in the countryside of the state of New Hampshire. The store was very attractive and there were several tour buses parked with many people waiting in line to use the restroom. There were one for male and one for female.

There were two problems, however. One was that both were not working properly, and the other was that the place, as well as most other attractions in the world, ignored the fact that you needed more facilities for females.

Once in a while, there is an exception. Boston Harbor has a public restroom spacious and standing alone. You do not need changes to use the place. Places like that, however, are rare, at least based on my experience.

Several years back, I stayed at what is known to be the best hotel in Kangnam, Seoul. There were several brochures promoting attractions. I selected one and asked the nicely-dressed concierge whether they could pick me up at the hotel. Apparently, my question was so out of reality that it took time for her to understand my question. Answer was that there was no such thing as picking up tourists at hotels in Seoul.

As director of a research unit at a university, I had an opportunity to collect a large amount of data from visitors to local attractions through what is known as exit surveys. According to my survey, two primary sources of information for visiting out-of-town attractions are family/friends and websites. There is not much we can do about family and friends. Websites, however, are under direct control of those........

© The Korea Times