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Korea Times

Seoul to ban tour buses, coffeehouse chains in Bukchon

‘The measure is aimed at maintaining Bukchon’s identity as a historic and cultural village,’ explains city official

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 12:16pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 12:19pm

By Kim Se-jeong 

The Seoul Metropolitan Government is considering banning tour buses and franchised coffee shops in Bukchon, a district between two palaces known for its cluster of hanok, or traditional Korean houses.

The city government said Tuesday it is planning the measure to address increasing complaints from residents over trash and noise caused by tourists and to protect local businesses from being forced out due to high rent.

Bukchon is a major tourist destination in Seoul thanks to its hanok, cosy restaurants and cafes and artisans and their galleries. Like other tourist spots in the city, however, Bukchon’s authenticity began showing signs of fading due to torrents of tourists and skyrocketing rent, the city said.

“The measure is aimed at maintaining Bukchon’s identity as a historic and cultural village,” a city official said.

The city will prevent tour buses from roaming the area while waiting for their passengers to finish sightseeing or shopping. Instead, the city will consider underground parking lots in the vicinity.

While large-sized coffee shop chains will be barred, the city said the measure will also include a height limit for new buildings.

For Seochon, a district on the other side of Gyeongbok Palace also facing similar gentrification issues, the city has already prevented big companies from opening coffeehouse chains and regulated heights for new construction.