Hwacheon-gun County in Gangwondo Province is crowded with domestic and foreign visitors even at minus 10 degrees Celsius thanks to the 16th annual Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival.
[1+1 EVENT] Sancheoneo Ice Festival all in one tour
In 2017, the festival drew a record 100,000 foreign visitors but this year’s edition attracted 80,000 in just the first nine days (Jan. 5-13). The event’s organizing committee expects an estimated 170,000 foreign visitors by the final day on Jan. 27.
The festival’s most popular program is ice fishing and cooking sancheoneo, a species of trout known to live only in the cleanest fresh water in mid-winter. The 60 other programs include bare-handed and night fishing and sledding.
Global media are also covering the festival, with the U.K. daily Guardian and the United Arab Emirates news service The National (Abu Dhabi) displaying colorful photos of the event.
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Xinhuanet, a Chinese state-run news agency, showed a picture of people fishing for sancheoneo. The Beijing-based People’s Daily and the government-run China Central Television (CCTV) also posted videos of ice fishing and cooking at the event.
A source with the festival’s organizing committee said, “The reason foreign tourists and overseas media are paying attention to the festival is that renting gear for fishing and sledding is easy. Also, the foreigner-exclusive zone makes it comfortable for them to have fun.”
“Furthermore, many visitors from Southeast Asia and the Middle East, two regions with no winter, visit Korea to have a fresh and new experience.”