"When I took office, Boseong-gun had the lowest integrity level of fourth grade, but it went up one level every year, ranking first in Jeollanam-do last year. This year, our province won the honor of the first grade nationwide," said Governor Kim Cheol-woo of Boseng-gun.
In an interview with The Korea Post Media, which has been publishing English and Korean media for 38 years since 1985, Governor Kim said, "Boseong-gun is the green tea capital of Korea in name and reality. In line with the name, we will strive with a sense of mission and responsibility to lead Korea's tea culture and tea industry, promoting Korean tea in the world, and enhance its status."
The followings are excerpts from an interview with Boseong-gun County Governor Kim Cheol-woo.
Question: You took office as the re-elected head of Boseong-gun through the 8th popular vote. Would you introduce the recent development of Boseong-gun?
Answer: In early January this year, Boseong-gun has garnered the first grade, the highest grade in Korea, in the comprehensive integrity evaluation of public institutions organized by the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission.
At the time of taking office, Boseong-gun's integrity was at the bottom of the list, but it went up one level every year, ranking first in Jeollanam-do last year and receiving the honor of first-grade nationwide this year.
In addition, it was selected as the only active administrative agency in Honam (Jeolla-do) for three consecutive years.
In addition to the administrative sector, we are actively promoting large-scale projects that will become future food. There are 32 projects going on in excess of 10 billion won in project value.
Major projects include Boseong-Beolgyo Complex Community Center, Boseong-eup City Gas Supply, Gyeongjeon Line KTX connection Construction of the 2nd Agricultural and Industrial Complex, Marine Leisure Tourism Base Creation, Yeojaman Bay National Tidal Park, and Beolgyo-Jangdo Integrated Tourism Theme Road.
All of them are closely connected to the lives of residents, and are large-scale and distinctive projects that can drastically change the local economic situation.
We are confident that we are showing remarkable progress nationwide so far. We will show you the results of the major projects.
Q: What is the core vision of the Boseong-gun which was created through the 8th popular vote?
A: We will open an era of 1 trillion won in budget. Securing the initial budget of 500 billion won, we achieved the final budget of 775 billion won last year.
This year, we will open the era of 800 billion won in budget and make it a reality toward the era of 1 trillion won in Boseong-gun during my term.
We secured 230 billion won in local subsidy tax in 2020 and 300 billion won in state funds in 2021, securing 218.5 billion won in the Yeojaman Bay national tidal flat marine garden project in 2022. This year, Boseong-gun has secured a common subsidy tax of up to 309.9 billion won, making it the first and largest history of Boseong-gun.
We will continue to secure national expenses and discover new projects even in the 8th term elected by popular vote.
We will definitely open the era of 1 trillion won in budget for the first time in Boseong-gun.
Q: What does the slogan 'Boseong 365' mean?
A: It means that we will work hard for the county residents for 365 days.
It is the implementation plan of the 3 major SOC projects that have been promoted since the 7th term.
The three major SOC projects are being promoted in three areas: living SOC, industrial SOC, and tourism SOC. We plan to focus on managing it by organizing specialized projects that can show the individuality of Boseong-gun and differentiate it from other regions.
With the Boseong 600 project, the Welfare 600 project, the Clean 600 project, the Safe 600 project, and the Forest 600 project, we will reinforce residents’ participation autonomy.
The five goals of the 8th term are welfare and administration, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, cultural tourism, settlement conditions, and regional development. We plan to carry out our work thoroughly in all areas of the county administration.
I'm proud and happy to make a change with public officials and to have the county residents cheer for me. I won't lose my initial commitment and I'll continue to work hard.
Q: I heard that Boseong-gun is growing as the center of the southern coast. What are the specific achievements?
A: Boseong-gun serves as the chairman of the Development Council of South Central Region on the South Coast, which is joined by nine cities and counties in Jeollanam-do and Gyeongsangnam-do.
The South-Middle Region Development Council has led to the construction of the Yeosu-Namhae Undersea Tunnel and the Seomjingang River's 2nd Namdo Bridge, and is strengthening marketing activities to enter the global market, starting with promotion of agricultural and livestock products and tourism.
Through co-prosperity and cooperation, Boseong-gun has become the backbone of the southern coast and is growing and developing further.
Q: You mentioned, "The future of Boseong lies in the sea." Would you explain this?
A: The cost of the public offering projects propelled in the marine and fisheries sector exceeds 500 billion won.
Currently, Yulpo Marine Leisure Base Project, Beolgyo-Jangdo Ecological Trail Construction Project, Yulpo Promenade Construction Project, and Fishing Village New Deal 300 Project have been successfully attracted and are being promoted.
In particular, the Yulpo Marine Leisure Base Project, which is being promoted to establish itself as the largest marine tourism base on the southern coast, is a project that costs nearly 50 billion won and is attracting national attention.
Construction will begin this year and be completed in 2024 as a comprehensive leisure facility with a 42km depth skin scuba pool, survival experience center, indoor surfing ground, underwater studio, and infinity pool.
In addition, the Beolgyo Bridge has been confirmed as a national tidal flat marine garden center project jointly promoted by Boseong-gun and four cities and counties in the Yeojaman Bay area.
If a huge project cost of 218.5 billion won is injected into the sea near Beolgyo Bridge, the sea of Beolgyo will be reborn.
The project to create an ecological exploration road (47.2 billion won) between Beolgyo and Jangdo, which is responsible for 80% of Boseong cockle production, is also being promoted with the goal of completion by 2025. The project to create the Yeojaman Bay Beolgyo Mudflat Marine Theme Park, which will cost 9 billion won, is also aimed at completion by 2024. I think the future of Boseong lies in the sea.
At a time when we are actively promoting investment and development in the marine sector, we will actively find projects that will play a major role in attracting large-scale public offering projects and improve the quality of life of marine fishing villages and fishermen.
Q: You plan to make Boseong-gun a tourism spot to attract 10 million tourists. Do you have any concrete plans?
A: The 1.7 trillion won KTX joint Gyeongjeon Line high-speed electrification project was reflected in the 2023 state-funded project.
Our province has been moving quickly since the business plan, achieving an unusual achievement of stopping at Boseong Station and Beolgyo Station. Starting with the KTX joint era, which takes 2 hours and 30 minutes from Seoul and 2 hours from Busan to Boseong, Boseong-gun is preparing for greeting 10 million tourists. This year, the 11th Boseong World Tea Expo will be held from April 29 to May 7 as an integrated festival-type expo. Boseong representative festivals such as Dahyang Grand Festival, Seopyeonje Sori Festival, Fireworks Festival, and the National Ssireum Competition will be held.
Since the 7th term, I have been paying great attention to marine business by saying that I will open the era of Boseong-type blue economy.
Now, we are creating a marine tourism belt that connects Yulpo, Deukryang, Joseong, and Beolgyo, focusing on the two pillars of leisure and ecology.
When these projects are completed, Boseong-gun will be reborn as a representative marine leisure tourism city on the southern coast.
And we are also focusing on the development of new hub tourist attractions centered on major tourist attractions.
We would like to restore the reputation of Boseong tea tourism, which was booming in the 2000s, by turning it into a tea field tourism resource. It also focuses on developing tourist attractions using forest resources.
We will prepare balanced tourism resources through the creation of Juwolsan Eco Healing Theme Park, Jeamsan Natural Recreation Forest Luxury Project, and Juamho Ecological Wetland Experience Tourism, and strengthen historical tourism resources to promote Boseong.
Q: I’ve heard that this year's Boseong World Tea Expo will be held in conjunction with other festivals such as the Boseong Dahyang Grand Festival and the Seopyeonje Boseong Sound Festival, so please explain in detail.
A: This year, we are planning to hold the Boseong World Tea Expo in the form of a Boseong Integrated Festival to scale the festival and create greater synergy. The 11th Boseong World Tea Expo will be held for nine days from April 29 to May 7 under the theme of "A Thousand Years of Boseong Tea, Embracing the World."
In order to scale the World Tea Expo and internalize the program, it will be held as an integrated festival-type expo at the same time as Boseong-gun's representative festival. Major festivals will be held at the same time, including the Boseong Dahyang Grand Festival, Seopyeonje Boseong Sori Festival, Fireworks Festival, Ilimsan Azalea Festival, National Jangsa Ssireum Competition, Green Tea Marathon, and Yacht Competition.
Anyone will naturally experience the tea culture of Boseong and the future of the Korean tea industry while easily accessing and enjoying the Expo, which was only felt professional and difficult.
Boseong-gun is the green tea capital of Korea in name and reality. We will strive with a sense of mission and responsibility to lead Korea's tea culture and tea industry, promote Korean tea in the world, and enhance its status.
Please pay a lot of attention to the 11th Boseong World Tea Expo, which Boseong-gun is preparing with all its heart and soul.
Q: There is currently about a month left until the Boseong World Tea Expo. What are your promotional plans?
A: On March 30, 30 days before the opening of the 11th Boseong World Tea Expo, the royal tea demonstration event "Boom-up Festa" will be held at Kyunghee Palace in Seoul. Since the Goryeo Dynasty, Boseong-gun has had an institution called Dasang that provides tea to the country.
It also has a 1,000-year-old tea history and produces “Nyeon Tea” for royal family.
A tea sharing event will be held to inform tourists, including residents of the Seoul metropolitan area, of the Boseong World Tea Expo, and to promote the excellence of Boseong tea with a 1,000-year history.
Q: What are the main events of the Boseong World Tea Expo?
A: Boseong-gun actively used most of the expo's budget for festival content. One of them is the Black Eagle Air Show, which will be held at the opening ceremony on April 29. It will be held at Boseong Public Stadium for about 20 minutes from 3 o'clock. Following a special flight, we expect the first start of the expo to shine brilliantly with a celebratory flight performance embroidering the cupid of love and a huge Taegeukgi. (Korean national flag)
Major contents to watch include △ World Tea Culture Exhibition Hall, △ Oriental Tea Culture 5,000-year-old artifact exhibition, △ World Tea Road, and △ Tea Therapy.
Based on the tea culture and history of six countries, including Korea, China, Japan, and the United Kingdom, the World Tea Culture Exhibition Hall will be created as a learning and experience space where you can see and feel the trend of world tea at a glance.
The World Tea Road will utilize the greenhouse in the Korea Tea Culture Park to implement the world's representative tea fields in a miniature form.
It will give you an intuitive experience of looking around the world's famous car production sites.
Q: Lastly, what do you say to the people of the county?
A: I will always engrave your will and be with you. I'll communicate with residents more closely and listen to their voice more. We will not neglect even the small things, but we will take a closer look and realize "Hopeful Boseong full of dreams and happiness." Please continue to watch us, reprimand us, and support us. Thank you.