JEJU, May 31 (Korea Bizwire) – Jeju Island attracted more than 1 million tourists this month alone, industry data showed Monday, as the southern resort island raised its anti-COVID-19 social distancing measures by one notch to Level 2 on the same day to cope with growing local transmissions of the coronavirus.
According to the data from Jeju’s tourism association, 1,089,690 tourists arrived on Jeju from May 1-30. With an additional 31,000 visitors expected on the last day of May, the monthly tally is estimated to top 1.1 million.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the monthly number of Jeju visitors exceeded 1 million only three times last year — 1.13 million in August, 1.08 million in October and 1.14 million in November.
But as more and more people flock to Jeju apparently to escape from COVID-19-related depression, the monthly number of Jeju tourists topped 1 million for the second straight month, the association said, noting April saw 1.07 visitors.
The influx of visitors has further accelerated, as local tourists, including newlyweds, increasingly prefer Jeju as an alternative to overseas travel due to coronavirus-related international travel restrictions.
While Jeju’s tourist hot spots have become increasingly crowded, a daily average of 12.6 COVID-19 infections were reported over the past week.
The island reported a single-digit daily increase until April. It reported an additional seven COVID-19 cases Monday, raising its cumulative total to 1,030.
Cluster infections have also occurred on the island recently, amid an overall increase in the movement of both tourists and residents who traveled outside the island.
The Level 2 scheme, the third highest in the country’s five-tier COVID-19 alert system, will be enforced on Jeju for two weeks beginning Monday, the provincial government said, noting the operating hours of facilities used by the general public will be reduced and gathering limits will be imposed under the new rules.
Under Level 2, the number of visitors to Jeju’s tourist destinations will be limited to 30 percent of capacity.
Entertainment facilities and karaoke establishments will be forced to close from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following day. Restaurants and cafes will only be allowed to offer takeout and delivery during the same hours.