【People】Korean C.E.O. Eum Youngjoon continues to convey Hokkaido’s appeal

Eum Youngjoon

Eum Youngjoon established the tourism consulting company Planplus in Sapporo in 2015, and endeavors to increase the number of visitors to Hokkaido from his homeland of Korea. In addition to publishing Sapporo and Otaru guidebooks and selling them in Korea, in September Eum began exporting Hokkaido products. Even amid the adversities of the novel coronavirus, he looks forward to ‘continuing the job of conveying Hokkaido’s appeal’.
 
Born in Seoul, the 41-year-old currently resides in Sapporo. After graduating from university in Korea in 2006, Eum studied overseas at Hokkaido University’s Graduate School of Environmental Science. While coming into contact with Sapporo’s abundant nature and the warmth of its people, his desire to someday work here strengthened. After establishing his business, Eum offered hospitality advice to accommodation facilities with regard to Korean guests, and also proposed promotion plans to local authorities and worked on the translation of tourist information signboards.
 
He began exporting Hokkaido products when it became uncertain when Korean visitors would be able to return to Hokkaido due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying “I wanted to find a way of building a bridge between Japan and Korea in a way other than tourism.” He now exports and sells 32 products, including sweets and boil-in-the-bag soup curry from famous shops in Hokkaido, via Korean internet shopping sites. In the future, he also hopes to include outdoor goods made in Hokkaido and other non-food products, with a plan to increase the number of products the company deals in to 200, within the year.
 
Not only exports, but imports too, as work is now underway to import and sell Korean bottled coffee in Japan. As Japan-Korea relations continue to be somewhat frosty, Eum believes “Food is the best way of understanding each other’s culture. It’s because of times like these that I want to make moves toward forging friendship.”

Eum loves Hokkaido’s nature. In particular, the coastal scenery of the town of Setana in southern Hokkaido. “The expansive grassland is just like that of Scotland. Hokkaido is like Europe within Asia.”

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