Updated July. 22, 2014 06:51
Harvard University is known for its beautiful campus with antique buildings. There is a ritual that tourists including zealous Korean parents with their children do when they visit the campus. They take a photo with their hand touching the left foot of the statue of John Harvard, the founder of the university. It is because of a rumor that the person who touches it or his or her child can get admitted to Harvard. The shining left foot indicates how many people touched it.
The Fountain Trevi in Rome and the Charles Bridge in Prague show the power of a story that attracts tourists. The Fountain Trevi is the most famous landmark in Rome, the city of fountains. It is a place where Audrey Hepburn threw a coin into the fountain in the movie Roman Holiday. The first coin guarantees you to return Rome and the second will ensure a new romance. Thanks to the story, coins from all over the world are collected in the fountain. Pragues Charles Bridge has 15 statues on both sides. But tourists are attracted to one statue. It is said that rubbing the bronze plaque of the statue of St. John of Nepomuk makes your wish come true.
For Chinese tourists visiting Korea, Ewha Womans University is a place to go. These tourists believe the rumor that if a picture is taken with the background of the symbol of the university, the pear blossom, one can get married to a good man. Chinese are probably attracted to the fact that the pronunciation of Ewha in Chinese is similar to a Chinese word meaning money snowballs. As a result, the commercial area in front of the university has been revived as a second Myeongdong, one of popular downtown areas in Seoul. Because of the popularity, some tourists take wedding pictures on the campus even without permission while others break into a reading room to take pictures.
The Korea Tourism Organization expects the number of Chinese tourists visiting Korea to surpass five million this year, up from 4.3 million last year. With Chinese President Xi Jinpings recent visit to Korea, China has designated the year of 2016 "the year of visiting Korea." It is good to have Chinese tourists but it is also worrisome that their visit might interrupt the academic functions of the university. It would be better if they wish luck in marriage and money and take a step further to learn the academic traditions of Koreas best womens university.