From now on, foreign tourists can walk along the Jeju Olle Trail with ‘Walking Mates.’
Jeju Olle began offering ‘Walking Mate,’ a walking guide program joined by volunteers every Saturday for foreign tourists traveling by foot on Jeju Olle Trail from April 1.
Walking Mate is a program where volunteers who speak English, Chinese, Japanese, etc., walk along specific courses of the Jeju Olle Trail with foreigners who signed up. The program will be operated even if there is just one applicant during the initial launch stage.
A total of 18 people registered for this program in April. Their nationalities were quite diverse as well. News about this program got out even before officially starting, and people from Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, the USA, Bahrain, the Philippines, Mexico, and Romania reached out with inquiries and applications. On April 15, only one Finnish tourist applied but will be accompanied by a Walking Mate.
This program starts at 9:30 a.m. every Saturday from Soesokkak Bridge, which is the starting point of Course 6 and ends at the Jeju Olle Tourist Center, and the service is available in English and Chinese every week. For other languages, volunteers will be assigned according to reservations.
The Walking Mate program will kick off with a total of 40 volunteers who completed the ‘Walking with Foreigners’ volunteer training course and field practices operated by Jeju Olle last year.
This training course will be offered twice a year, and many volunteers who complete this course are expected to participate in the program. Once there are sufficient volunteers, Jeju Olle plans to operate the program not only at Course 6 but several other courses as well.
A spokesperson for Jeju Olle said, “Course 6 was selected because it is the shortest course at 11km and is not too difficult, making it a great course for various age groups and experienced hikers to walk,” adding, “It can be completed in about 4 hours, and there are also many attractions on the way such as Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market and Painter Lee Jung-Seob Street.
President of Jeju Olle Ahn Eun-joo explained, “As there is a steady growth of foreigners visiting the Jeju Olle Trail, we wanted their experience not to be limited to just the act of walking, but to learn about the history of Jeju and Olle Trail, natural and topographical features, and how to enjoy Olle Trail. That is why we promoted the Walking Mate program. Also, this program is operated depending solely on the efforts of volunteers who are participating only with the best intentions, and therefore, I would like to express my appreciation to everyone participating.
Meanwhile, Walking Mate is a program offered exclusively to foreigners and information is available on the Jeju Olle English website. Applications can be submitted using the Google link (https://forms.gle/KBhWjFA6F6J6UUP38).
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.net)
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