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[Opinion] Hongdo Corporation

Posted May. 28, 2005 03:25,   


Hongdo is an island made of quartzite, which gives the island its crimson color. Hongdo at sunset becomes one with the red sunlit sea. Many say the sunset on the lighthouse of Hongdo 2-gu is a grand sight. Imagine that 10 attractions of Hongdo, such as a rock called the gate of independence and “Tapseom,” a small island that looks like a pagoda, lay on the sea right before your eyes. Isn’t it wonderful?

The Hongdo Cruise Cooperation (www.hongdoro.com), established and funded by 50 households of Hongdo in March of this year, recently started a sunset tour package, which came from the ideas of Hongdo residents. They said that they used to run their own tour businesses respectively but that the heated competition cost them too much money. Therefore, they joined hands and established their own company in order to boost the waning Hongdo tour industry. They decided to reveal each of their secret attractions and came up with tour packages using such information. Some of them were tour guides. Nowadays, visitors to Hongdo amount to an average of about 500 on weekdays and 800 on the weekends. The company’s revenue per day is around 2.5 million won.

With the ideas and cooperation that Hongdo residents have showed, there is hope even if cheap agricultural and marine products of China pour into the Korean market. Sticking to the government countermeasures to help the farming and fishing villages can be the easiest way to end up with growing debt. The five-year plan for the development of farming, mountain and fishing villages, which will cost the government 20 trillion won staring this year through 2009, is still in question regarding its helpfulness to the village people. Since the Uruguay Round (UR) in 1994, about 60 trillion won was poured into the farming villages for the subsequent 10 years. However, many farmers are struggling with debt. Some say that supporting agencies and personnel in those agencies are the ones who have really benefited.

There is a saying that heaven helps those who help themselves. Kim Sam-su, general director of the Hongdo Cruise Cooperation, said that in the past, it was the government that led the farmers and fishermen. He continues, “However, now is the time that we must find our way to survival by ourselves.” He added that the company had no support from the government. The Hangdam Island development, which turned out to be a national project of Cheong Wa Dae, is now causing significant damage to 30 residents of Dangjin who invested in the project, while the project is on hold. Right now, they might wish that they had invested in Hongdo.

Lim Gyu-jin, Editorial Writer, mhjh22@donga.com