|People spend their time at Hyeopjae Beach on Jeju Island, Monday. As many as 200,000 people are expected to visit the island during the Chuseok holiday. Yonhap|
Quarantine authorities on Jeju Island are on high alert as nearly 200,000 tourists are expected to visit the southern resort island during the upcoming Chuseok holiday.
The Jeju Tourism Association said Wednesday that at least 198,000 visitors are projected to come to the island during the extended Chuseok holiday, the Korean version of Thanksgiving, which runs from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 this year. But Koreans will enjoy five days off when the Oct. 3 National Foundation Day and Sunday are included.
It means the island is expected to receive an average of some 40,000 visitors each day from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4, which is similar to the number of arrivals during the peak summer season.
The reservation rates for flights linking Jeju to Seoul's Gimpo airport and Busan's Gimhae airport have reached 70 to 80 percent, prompting airlines to prepare temporary flights on the routes, according to the industry sources.
The reservation rates for accommodations and rental cars have also been on a steep rise, while golf courses are almost fully booked.
Despite its status as South Korea's top tourist destination, Jeju Island has remained one of the nation's least coronavirus-affected regions, with its cumulative caseload reaching just 56 as of Wednesday.
Jeju's quarantine authorities said they will reinforce measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus among tourists and residents during Chuseok.
Holidaymakers will be asked to strictly comply with anti-COVID-19 guidelines and refrain from visiting high-risk businesses and facilities.
Industry officials speculate the recent easing of social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area may have further spurred tourism demand for Jeju. (Yonhap)