The South Korean government announced it will ban hunters from hunting at some tourist spots, including popular hunting destinations, in a bid to curb the country’s soaring crime rate.
The country is one of the world’s most violent places to live, with more than 1,200 murders reported last year, according to a recent survey by the United Nations.
Hunters, who make up the vast majority of the countrys tourism industry, say they can’t compete with tourists who pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to places like the South Korean Mount Hyoek National Park or hunt at the Olympic Park.
Hunter hunting jobs can be found in the wild, as hunters look for animals in areas where there are no regulations, said Lee Myung-bong, who runs the Hunter International Job Hunting and Hunting Promotion Association, which helps hunters train.
He said the ban would limit hunters’ options in hunting, which has become increasingly lucrative in recent years as hunters increasingly use social media to lure in potential prey.
“It will affect hunters who have been looking for jobs, but they can also work for companies like the National Tourism Agency, or hunt in other parts of the countryside,” Mr. Lee said.
He said the government’s announcement came amid a nationwide crackdown on tourism that includes the nationwide closure of the K-pop concert tour, which is one reason many hunters choose to go hunting.
In addition to hunting, hunters can use their skills to build houses or businesses, such as helping others with landscaping.
Hunters say they want to make the job of hunting easier for tourists, but many are afraid of being targeted for criminal activity.
There are currently no regulations in South Korea on hunting and hunting licenses, and hunting is allowed only at designated hunting sites.
The government says it plans to ban hunting on parks in the coming months, but hunting bans are not unheard of, with China and Vietnam also enacting them.
A South Korean tourist shoots a deer with a hunting rifle at the Mount Hyon Ilbo in Seoul, South Korea.
A recent survey found that 1,182 tourists were killed last year in hunting-related crimes.
The South Korea Tourism Board said the total number of killings was 5,843 last year.
Korea’s tourism industry is estimated to generate about $3 billion annually in tax revenue, and the country is ranked second in the world in terms of tourism by the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Follow NBC Asian America on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.