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Wando Seaweeds Expo to make Wando tourism, health food hubSlated on April 11-May 11, 2014

Slated on April 11-May 11, 2014

Wando Seaweeds Expo to make Wando
tourism, health food hub

▲Mayor Kim Jong-sik of Wando

The 2014 Wando Seaweeds Expo on the main theme of "Discovery of the Future Life, Seaweeds” will be held from April 11, 2014 to May 11, 2014 at the Wando Harbor and the Beach Park known as Wando Expo Belt connecting the Jangbogo Site.

It is the first time for the world to see an international festival of seaweeds held like the one being organized by the Wando County of the Jeollanam-do Province.

▲An artist's con-ception of the view of the Wando Sea-weeds Expo to be held on Wando on April 11-May 11,2014. It is the first time for the world to see an international festival of seaweeds like the one being or-ganized by Wando country, Jeollanam-do.

The forthcoming Wando Seaweeds Expo to be held under the auspices of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Algae Society of Korea, will certainly make a turning point for the domestic seaweeds industry to become an emerging industry when demand for seaweeds from foreign countries including Japan and China is on the increase in recent years.

▲A woman collects Gamtae seaweeds from a beach on Wando.

Seaweeds are a fascinating with diverse group of organisms living in the earth's oceans. You can find them on the rocks in the intertidal zone, washed up on the beach, in giant underwater forests, and floating on the ocean's surface. They can be very tiny, or quite large, growing up to 30 meters long.

A total of 60 booths including 20 for use by foreign participants will be established during the expo period to showcase a diverse array of seaweeds.

Workshop programs on seaweeds ocean farm experience and other events are in store on the sideline of the main event.

Wando Seaweeds Expo comes against the backdrop of a growing importance being attached to seaweeds as alternative food resources worldwide nowadays. The event will also inject fresh vigor into regional hospitality industries in and around Wanda County blessed with rich natural tourism resources.

▲Wando Slow Road

The municipality of Wando county has invited a total of 440 travel agents, members of news media organizations and school teachers nationwide in 18 occasions as of Nov. 11 who are in charge of school meals as part of its efforts to publicize the Wando Seaweeds Expo since after the preparatory works for the event started in earlier this year.

The success of the Seaweeds Expo will bring about “killing two birds with one stone” effects, said a spokesman for the organizing committee of the Expo.

He was referring to the fact that seaweeds are emerging as new health foods with rich nutrient as well in addition to the rippling effects of the Expo in boosting regional economy and tourism business in particular.

A total of 110 school teachers who are responsible for student meal services were also given a tour of Wando areas to see with their own eyes various seaweeds being produced in Wando areas which are proven to be healthy alternative foods for children in particular,.

Although they have many plant-like features, seaweeds are not true vascular plants; they are algae. Algae are part of the Kingdom Protista, which means that they are neither plants nor animals. Seaweeds are not grouped with the true plants because they lack a specialized vascular system (an internal conducting system for fluids and nutrients), roots, stems, leaves, and enclosed reproductive structures like flowers and cones.

Because all the parts of a seaweed are in contact with the water, they are able to take up fluids, nutrients, and gases directly from the water, and do not need an internal conducting system. Like true plants, seaweeds are photosynthetic; they convert energy from sunlight into the materials needed for growth.

Seaweed could play a vital role in bioplastic packaging in the future, according to researchers.

Its ability to grow in a wide range of environments and its cultivation in a natural environment as potential for it to serve as an alternative in bioplastic production for the packaging industry too.

Bioplastics from seaweeds would cost more than traditional methods but are reported to be more resistant to microwave radiation, less brittle and durable, the researchers said.

As far as tourism is concerned, Wando is also well-known for Jang Bo-Go who was actively engaged in sea trades and played as a leader of keeping order in East Asian sea including Tang Dynasty, Japan and Southern China Sea during the Unified Silla Era (57 BC - 935 AD) by creating Cheonghaejin in Wando that eventually cleared out the pirates.

The special Korean TV drama series about the ‘King of the Sea’- Ambassador Jang Bo-Go?has been filmed in the remains of Cheonghaejin in Wando-gun.

In memory of Jang Bo-Go, who was born and raised in Wando and its sea, Wando Jangbogo Festival has been held in Wando since 2006 to recollect activities of the world famous icon who controlled the traffic of East Asian ocean with Cheonghaejin in the center.

Currently on every weekend in Cheonghae Harbor where many tourists pay a visit to, a variety of fun experience events are available.

In this new marine era, the historical sea that King of the Sea - Jang Bo-Go - developed is once again highlighted for the future resources, and Wando is being recognized as the center of the movement. The message of this year’s festival is ‘With Jang Bo-Go’s dream, let’s go to the bright sea and to the bright future!?For enquiries, please call Tel 061-554-5044. k

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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