NAMHAE, July 4 (Korea Bizwire) –The popularity of Baraegil in Namhae County, South Gyeongsang Province, is on the rise as more people discover the breathtaking natural beauty of the South Sea.
The term ‘barae’ refers to the traditional practice of Namhae mothers venturing out to the tidal flats during low tide to gather seafood such as green laver, clams, wakame, and conch, providing nourishment for their families.
Namhae, a captivating island often referred to as the “Flower Garden,” has been cherished for its pristine landscapes for over 500 years.
With its majestic mountains, enchanting sea, terraced paddy fields in Gacheon Village, bamboo nets, and warm-hearted locals, the island’s appeal is drawing an increasing number of visitors.
In 2020, in celebration of its 10th anniversary, the renowned ‘Namhae Barae-gil’ underwent extensive renovations, resulting in ‘Namhae Barae-gil 2.0.’
This upgraded version boasts a total distance of 251 kilometers, including 16 main lines, 4 branch lines, 2 island branch lines, and two distinct village-themed trails.
According to a report released by Namhae County on Tuesday, the number of Barae-gil hikers who have completed all designated sections has shown an average annual growth rate of 32% over the past three years, with 80% of these hikers being out-of-town tourists.
Reviewing the usage statistics for the first half of the year, a total of 3,520 course completions were recorded from January to June 2021. In 2022, this number increased to 45,599, and in 2023, it reached 6,208, indicating an average annual growth rate of 32%.
The total number of course completions also rose from 93 in the first half of the previous year to 142 in the first half of the current year, reflecting a 53% increase compared to the same period last year.
It is estimated that approximately 20,000 course completions were achieved in the first half of this year, with many individuals opting to walk the trail without utilizing the Baraegil app.
The surge in Barae-gil users is attributed to the rising popularity of nearby Namparang-gil and the character badges awarded to those who complete the course, which gained traction through the personal social media accounts of the participants.
An overwhelming 97.9% of survey respondents who completed the trail expressed satisfaction with their Barae-gil experience. Additionally, 86.6% of participants were pleased with the Baraegil app, which assists in navigation and certifying completion.
Among the 22 available courses, the Bracken Field Trail was the most notable, followed by the Aenggangda Forest Trail, Daraengi-jigaetgil, and Geumsan Barae Trail.
Aenggangda is renowned for its hawthorn forests, which hold a legendary tale that claims a river was formed from the accumulated tears of a mythical creature known as a kooktail.
In terms of age demographics, individuals in their 60s accounted for 46% of the participants, closely followed by those in their 50s at 32.7%.
Image credit: Namhae County Office / firstname.lastname@example.org