A legendary company revivor challenges for island revivor

김태인 기자l승인2020.07.27l수정2020.07.27 13:42






▲ Dotseom Happy Land / Island Revivor Oh Yong-hwan

Dotseom Island in the offing of Masan, Changwon, once enjoyed a heyday with 1.16 million yearly visitors. The island then saw a gradual decline of visitors. In the time of near closure, Changwon City came to know about Oh Yong-hwan whose fame of reviving around 2,000 near bankrupt companies spread far and wide. For the last 10 years, Oh has traveled from Bundang to Masan with his duty on his shoulder to bring back the former glory to the island.

Dotseom Amusement Park opened in 1982 on a 30 year management contract with D company. The company suffered bad reputation for leaking the phenol to Masan Bay where the island floated just a short distance. The management was taken over by another company but the company also suffered financial difficulty when the typhoon Maemi hit the island and the bay in 2003 leaving unimaginable damages. Eventually, the management fell into the hand of Oh in 2009 with business rights back to the city.

"Dotseom has limitless development potential and astronomical value. It is not about making benefits for me at first hand though the city actually needs it" says Oh.

Oh analyzed that making people know about the charm of the island is vital to bring back the former glory. Without a single support of the city, Oh aggressively engaged in organizing entertainment events from cruise sunrise to comedy concert, singing contest, UNICEF peace concert and citizens forum. 

Furthermore, he has played a regular guest to MBC Gyeongnam Morning March since January 2017 to let people know about beautiful islands in South Gyeongsang Province. It was May 2018 that Dotseom aired nationwide by tvN Little Big Hero and Oh and the city mayor appeared in Lee Hong Ryul's Bolmae Talk set on the very island November 2018.

"The name Dotseom came from its pig-like shape and a story goes that a woman Mihee beloved by the king of Gaya turned into a golden pig. The year 2019 was the year of golden pig so I brought up a plan to Changwon city which was rejected. Nevertheless, I suggested my idea on social media and the constituency lawmaker Jeon Hong-pyo answered to my idea to eventually erect a golden pig statue on the island alongside stories of the island and the pig."

Oh's hard work started to pay back with 174,000 people visiting the island in the year 2019 alone and major broadcasting companies were scrambling to introduce the island at first hand. This soon resulted in explosive number of visitors.

Prior to this in 2015, the head of village on Manjido Island in Tongyeong City paid a visit to Oh to draw travelers to the island and he indeed made the island as the 6 best islands to visit in August by the Korea Tourism Organization which was aired on KBS Changwon Running Nationwide and KBS2 Good Morning Live. Around yearly 200,000 people are visiting Manjido Island every year now and the 17 households on the island increased to 23. 

Currently, Oh is working on introducing shuttle boat system that will run between islands like a bus running between bus stops alongside Oh's Mind Healing Travel programs which has already been running from last April.

김태인 기자  red3955@hanmail.net
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