Where Did All the Flowers Go?
Where Did All the Flowers Go?
  • Jo Yoo Suyeon
  • 승인 2024.06.03 09:59
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Where Did All the Flowers Go?1)

Among local festivals, flower-themed ones attract many tourists. Cherry blossom festivals, in particular, are of high interest to people, and local governments refer to the official Cherry Blossom Bloom Map, provided by the Korea Tourism Organization at the beginning of each year to predict the blooming season and plan festivals. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict when the cherry blossoms will bloom due to anomalous weather conditions. Anomalous temperatures caused by climate change have resulted in large daily temperature differences, which has delayed the blooming of cherry blossoms that bloom in warmer temperatures of 10 degrees or more. Due to this volatility in flowering time, Sokcho City, which was promoting the 2024 Yeongnangho Lake Cherry Blossom Festival, revised its schedule. As the cherry blossoms didn't bloom on the festival's original date, March 30, the second event was added on April 6 after the cherry blossoms bloomed. In response, one local government official said, "It's practically not easy to reschedule festivals based on the change in weather. The more unpredictable the weather becomes, the more disruptive it will be to future event plans." This suggests that the difficulties of organizing local festivals in the face of the climate crisis is something that cannot be addressed in advance. As a result, local governments are facing challenges in planning and organizing festivals.
Local economies are negatively impacted when climate change disrupts planned local festivals. Local festivals attract not only locals, but also people from other regions, who spend money on accommodation, food, etc., generating more local revenue than usual. The Jinhae Gunhangje Festival, held on March 25, 2023, in Changwon City, attracted 4.5 million visitors and generated about 26 billion won in economic revenue, contributing to the local economy. However, if the festival had been disrupted, the economic return would have been small compared to the cost incurred by the local government, resulting in the local economy not being revitalized. Under these circumstances, there are discussions underway for a new way of organizing festivals that takes climate change into account. As part of this, digital technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality have been proposed to allow people to experience a festival even when the cherry blossoms are not in bloom. That is, various existing technologies ways for are devised for local governments to conduct the festival flexibly. In addition, many festivals are also adopting eco-friendly practices such as using reusable containers to reduce carbon emissions, which are a major contributor to the climate crisis. In order for local festivals to run smoothly and revitalize the economy, it seems that efforts are needed to plan them in a way that considers the environment and responds to changes immediately.


1) Jeong Eun-hye, Cheon Gwon-pil, ""At This Rate, the Cherry Blossom Festival Will Be in February" ...a Nightmare for Bees", JoongAngIlbo, March 28, 2023

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