In 2018, overtourism was an Asia-wide affliction , with destinations from Boracay, in the Philippines, to Thailand’s Maya Bay engaging in damage control after too many visitors had descended. Heck, the term even made it onto the Oxford English Dictionary’s “word of the year” shortlist. The South Korean island of Jeju also suffered from “too many tourists” that year, according to The Korea Times . Speaking to the English-language daily in 2018, Jeju resident Kang Won-bo lamented: “Jeju residents have to deal with the stress from many people and noise […] Many miss how it used to be.” Fast forward to 2020 and along came Covid-19, interrupting international travel and transforming once-bustling hotspots into ghost towns haunted by their past popularity – or in the case of Jeju, returning it to those halcyon days of “how it used to be”, right? Wrong. Located on one end of what is still the world’s busiest domestic flight route, which connects the island to the South Korean capital Seoul, Jeju has seen a surge in home-grown tourists that has compensated for a lack of international arrivals. According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, the island recorded 880,000 visitors in March, which represented 85 per cent of the pre-Covid-19 level of 1.03 million, in March 2019. However, neither the locals nor the out-of-towners seem too happy about it, if Korea Bizwire is to be believed. The good, bad and ugly sides to South Korea’s Jeju Island “The provincial government of Jeju Island, South Korea’s most popular vacation destination, is facing a dilemma as tourists and residents both are showing higher negative perceptions towards Jeju’s tourism boom,” the news site reported on April 9. “Tourists are increasingly dissatisfied with the island’s expensive prices while Jeju residents are unhappy with the inconvenience caused by the influx of tourists despite the spread of coronavirus.” Citing a recent study conducted by the Jeju Tourism Organization, Korea Bizwire reports that 54.9 per cent of the island’s visitors “showed dissatisfaction towards prices”, an increase from 29.1 per cent in 2019. Compared with other domestic destinations, such as Busan and Gangwon province, “Jeju was the only place where tourists’ actual expenditure exceeded their budget estimates”. A pandemic that, according to the Bank of Korea, shrunk South Korea’s economy in 2020 for the first time in 22 years, sent the unemployment rate soaring to a 21-year high and reduced consumer spending, is probably not the best time in which to forge a reputation for being more expensive than anticipated. And when it comes to the island’s full-time inhabitants, sentiments weren’t much sunnier. “Another report released in February jointly by the government of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and the Jeju Tourism Organization showed that Jeju residents are increasingly holding negative opinions towards tourists due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” reported Korea Bizwire. Survey respondents said they felt more inconvenienced by tourism, that the industry disrupted “public order” and that it infringed more on private lives than it had in 2018. Then there is the very real risk of arrivals importing Covid-19. “Coronavirus cases are rising among visitors as spring tourism becomes more active in April,” a provincial government official told Yonhap. Of 12 confirmed infections on the island in the first seven days of the month, 11 “were from visitors from the mainland or Jeju residents who contracted the virus from tourists”, the agency reported. “To the dismay of Jeju residents, some infected tourists were found to have come to Jeju despite having suspected symptoms of Covid-19 or learning of infections of fellow workers before entering the island.” In spite of all this, the island insists on tiptoeing the tourism tightrope because, as a senior official at the Jeju Tourism Organization said to Yonhap, “residents are concerned about Covid-19 transmissions from tourists, but they also know well that the island’s economy itself will be hit hard if the tourism industry is stagnant.” Like many places popular with visitors, Jeju seems damned if they do come, and damned if they don’t. Thailand launches ‘Entry Thailand’ website Despite having recently recorded record numbers of daily coronavirus cases, Thailand wants to make it as easy as possible for travellers to enter the country when it does eventually open. In addition to cutting the quarantine period for vaccinated arrivals to seven days, officials have launched a snazzy (not) website called Entry Thailand, which has been created (although not by experienced UX designers) to help anyone perplexed by the paperwork required to be let in. Although described by online news site The Thaiger as a “one-stop-shop”, it really isn’t, with links leading to various Google Sheets (some in Thai) to further confuse what already seems like a confusing process. Perhaps it would be simpler to stay put while the pandemic persists. Italy considers making bad gelato a crime Once upon a time, Italy was one of the most visited countries in the world, attracting millions from across the globe who trotted to the boot-shaped land to enjoy ancient ruins, cultural capitals and authentic Italian cuisine. Among the most admired edible offerings from the Stivale is gelato, colourful scoops of which are popular Instagram fare. The country even has a university devoted to the stuff . But not all gelato is created equally, and Italian officials are considering cracking down on vendors who pass their substandard frozen fare off as the real thing. According to The Sydney Morning Herald , “Under proposals being considered by the Italian Senate, ice cream producers who fail to meet strict quality measures, such as limits on the amount of air added to the mixture, could be hit with a fine of up to €10,000.” Incidentally, there are ways to spot a genuine gelato: it should be kept in a metal container, preferably with a lid, and the colours should be natural, muted tones. And avoid mountainous mounds at all cost.