Istria: Koreans Interested in Culture and Tourism Cooperation

Lauren Simmonds

As Glas Istre/Andjelo Dagostin/Gordana Calic Sverko writes on the 3rd of June, 2019, last week, a visit of foreign delegations to Istria took place. Istria’s Zminj municipality was visited by a high delegation from South Korea, led by a personal envoy of Korean Culture, Tourism and Sports Minister Shin Kinam. Along with his colleagues, they were hosted by Željko Plavčić of Žminj, on the occasion of the fifth Assembly of Čakavian poetry that was held in Žminj last weekend.

The previous delegation held meetings with Minister of Culture Nina Obuljen Koržinek and President of the Croatian Olympic Committee Zlatko Mateš, and after Žminj they visited Pula. Among the delegation was a film producer and university professor Baek Hak Gi, journalist from the United Press International Lee Sang Bong, president of EZ Entertainment and university professor Na Jungyoon, and visiting coordinator, translator and member of the American Association of Architects, Redden Soonyoung. Žminj and Istria were visited upon the recommendation of the Croatian Ambassador to South Korea, Damir Kušen.

In Istria, more specifically in Žminj, members of the delegation discussed the establishment of economic, cultural and tourist co-operation with Plavčić. Direct investment was not discussed because this was just an initial visit, however, Kinam expressed the desire to concretise cooperation at the next meeting in Seoul. Kinam himself personally joined the celebration of Čakavian poetry by bringing up Korean poetry. Kinam has spent four mandates in the South Korean Parliament, is an experienced writer and author of the contemporary novel “The Person I met in Dubrovnik” (Osoba koju sam sreo u Dubrovniku).

The meeting in Istria highlighted the fact that Croatia was visited more than 560,000 Koreans last year, contributing to the quality of traffic connections between Seoul and Zagreb, which is certainly a prerequisite for Žminj to become a ”station” for Korean tourists, as well as artists who could find inspiration in this very quiet and picturesque region of Istria, with its rich gastronomic offer and cultural heritage.

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