Municipal and provincial governments across South Korea were busy arranging various tourism programs for participants at the World Scout Jamboree under way in the country as alternative activities amid an ongoing extreme heat wave and other issues that have affected the global gathering.
The event held in the southwestern coastal area of Saemangeum has faced criticism after numerous accounts of a hospital bed shortage, waterlogged conditions due to previous heavy rains, and swarms of mosquitoes, as the country has been gripped with record-high temperatures.
On Saturday, representatives of the participating countries decided to go ahead with the event despite challenges that led the United States, Britain and Singapore to pull out from the campsite.
In light of the reported problems at the site, President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered authorities to devise tourism programs that would enable jamboree participants to see firsthand South Korea's industry, culture, history and nature.
Of the local governments, Busan, South Korea's second-largest city in the southeast, is taking the lead in developing tourist programs for the jamboree participants.
The municipal government and the Busan Tourism Organization have announced plans to create a program to accommodate approximately 10,000 participants and allow them to explore major attractions, including Haeundae Beach and the seaside park of Taejongdae.
Busan has already hosted the Swedish and Mexican contingents, comprising 1,701 and 401 members, respectively, which visited the city on July 25, as part of efforts to promote the city's bid to host the 2030 World Expo, prior to the contingents' attendance at the jamboree that started last Wednesday.
The Seoul metropolitan government is also busy arranging accommodations and programs for jamboree members who decided to leave the venue. Officials are considering utilizing the city's existing summer festivals, as opposed to creating new programs, for the Scouts.
"We are devising various measures related to transportation and safety to ensure that the participation of many jamboree members at the festivals does not lead to any problems," a Seoul city government official said.
The North Chungcheong provincial government has also held an emergency meeting to discuss ways to accommodate Scouts from overseas that hope to visit the province.
The province is planning to accommodate the Scouts in training centers, university dormitories and hotels across the province under a six-day schedule that involves touring various provincial destinations, including Cheongju, Boeun, Chungju and Danyang.
The private sector is also moving to lend a hand in the unexpected challenges faced by the central and local governments.
The Jogye Order, the country's largest Buddhist sect, has decided to open around 170 temple facilities nationwide to allow camping or lodging for the Scouts. At the request of the jamboree's organizing committee, the order plans to open its temples and its cultural centers to provide temple stay programs.
Source: Yonhap News Agency