The 2010 Great Baekje World Festival will be held in and around Buyeo and Gongju in Chungcheongnam-do for 30 days from Sept. 18 to Oct. 17 this year. Under the theme of "700-year dream of the Great Baekje" as the ancient capital, the world festival is expected to attract 2.6 million Korean and foreign tourists, Lee In-hwa, Vice Governor for Administrative Affairs of Chungcheongnam-do, said. In an interview with Korea IT Times, Lee said, "The 2010 Great Baekje World Festival is designed to promote Baekje, which boasted of the most excellent cultural creative power and art sprit among ancient countries."
The festival consists of various programs to revive glorious moments of Great Baekje and recreate the culture of Baekje in modern view, said the governor. "We will hold the Baekje cultural festival, which has been held as a domestic cultural event for 56 years, but this time it will be an international event. In line with this, we will link the international event with Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival to be held in Songpa-gu, Seoul," said Lee. Noting that the 2010 Great Baekje World Festival is different from the 56-year-long Baekje cultural festival, he said, "Visitors to the international event this time will stay in the old Baekje region and have a direct experience of seeing Baekje's cultural heritage."
Asked about ongoing preparations for the festival, Lee said, "We have already fixed 22 programs and carried out such projects as scheduled. The most attractive programs are the "A day in Sabigung Palace," which include reenactment of ceremonies in palace such as king's parade, enthronement ceremony and welcoming party for envoys. Participants in the "A day in Woongjinseong Fortress" program will be offered hands-on cultural experience to learn about Baekje at the IT pavilion. Various hidden relics of Baekje will also be released to the public and visitors will be able to enjoy the history and cultural prestige of Baekje, he explained.
Under the title of "world historical cities & festivals, and the ancient cultural exchange between Korea, China and Japan, and the future of the cultural exchange in the 21 century," experts from various countries will be invited and be encouraged to reinterpret the history of Baekje. At the digital pavilion of Baekje's cultural heritages, lost relics of Baekje, architectural techniques transferred to Japan, ruins and cultural assets will be restored and displayed digitally, said Lee.
The following is an excerpt from an interview with Lee In-hwa, Vice Governor for Administrative Affairs of Chungcheongnam-do.
Q: Chungcheongnam-do seems to exert great efforts to make the 2010 Great Baekje World Festival a global event where all three countries in Northeast Asia: South Korea, Japan and China are participating. Would you introduce this program
A: On the occasion of the 2010 Great Baekje World Festival, Baekje cultural festival will be upgraded to one of the world's best historical cultural programs. We already finalized a comprehensive execution program for the global festival last month and entered into a concrete preparation system. A Japanese festival representing Baekje will be reenacted in Buyeo. We will also secure a tourism route linking with Shanghai EXPO in China by developing cruise tourism products and operating charter flights. Through the theme of Baekje, we can activate exchanges among the three countries and attract more tourists from Japan and China in the future.
Q: This global festival needs to satisfy domestic and foreign visitors' demand for understanding history and stimulating interest simultaneously. Do you have any good ideas to meet these demands
A: To help visitors promote their understanding of history, we placed focus on developing contents related to Baekje. At the same time, we plan to create a productive and citizens-participating festival this time, away from the past festivals centering on boosting simple consumption. For instance, the motive of the 2010 Great Baekje World Festival is historical culture containing educational factors. We hope the global event will help students at primary, middle and high schools learn our ancient history, and realize excellence of Korea's ethic culture. In addition, we plan to convert the Baekje Cultural Estate on a land of 1 million pyeong (one pyeong equals 3.3 square meters) into tourism facilities comprising hotel-type condominium, 18-hole golf course and spa at a total of KRW 677.6 billion by 2013.
Q: Would you make comments on anticipating economic ripple effects and effects on regional tourism industry of the 2010 Great Baekje World Festival
A: We expect the global event to generate some 180 billion worth of economic ripple effects through contents and various programs. Music, performances and videos can be used persistently even after the Baekje cultural festival, we can enjoy ripple effects in the future, opening an era of new renaissance of the Baekje history. This global event will certainly promote regional citizens' cultural level and the number of tourists visiting Gongju and Buyeo is expected to soar from the present 500,000 a year to more than five million to boost the regional tourism industry.