Richard Tice blasts demand for child-free air travel
South Korea: home of kimchi, K-pop… and “kid-free” zones. The latter, however, may now be under threat as a new bill has been proposed in a bid to prevent businesses from “discriminating” against children by barring them from their establishments.
The bill is the brainchild of a South Korean politician who was distraught when she was turned away from a cafe with her young son in 2021.
If enacted, it would affect the popular tourist destination of Jeju Island and its 78 child-free zones.
About a decade ago, public places where children are not allowed began to emerge in South Korea.
Today, there are about 500 child-free zones, not including areas that would normally bar children, such as bars or nightclubs, according to the Jeju research institute.
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South Korea has about 500 child-free zones
Lawmaker Yong Hye-in was left in tears when she was turned away from the no-kid zone when she went there with her son. she told the Washington Post that the incident “hurt” and left her feeling that “society didn’t want people like her”.
Now, he has tried to make sure that no one else on Jeju Island feels the same way. Earlier this month, she held her one-year-old son as she stood on a pedestal in the National Assembly and told the government to ban the child-free zone policy.
She said: “Life with a child is not easy. But still, we have to recreate a society where we can coexist with our children.”
This was not the first time Yong had brought his son to the National Assembly, which itself is considered a child-free zone.
South Korea has the lowest birth rate in the world
The 33-year-old has now introduced the bill, which is currently being considered by the provincial council, as she believes it discriminates against children.
He explained that if Jeju Island was child-friendly, it would boost business in an interview with korea times. She said, “Jeju Island has many tourist spots visited by families, but it also has many child-free zones compared to other cities or provinces across the country.
“It is not right to block children’s access at a time when we need to create a child-friendly island to attract more family tourists.”
Supporters believe it not only denies children the right to certain public spaces, but also discourages people from wanting their own children, a contentious issue in South Korea, as it has the lowest birth rate in the world.
This phenomenon is not unique to South Korea, as airlines have also banned children.
The latest data, published by Statistics Koreareveal that just 249,000 babies were born in 2022, a 4.4 percent decline and the lowest since records began in 1970 with a birth rate of just 0.78.
On the other side of the coin, those who oppose banning child-free zones say companies should be able to control their own environments. Child-free companies also argue that they are offering parents a place of refuge away from their own children and those of others.
Child-free zones have caused controversy in the past, and not just in South Korea.
Around the world, airlines such as Japan Airlines and IndiGo have created options that allow passengers to sit away from children and babies, while some libraries and visitors have introduced minimum age limits.
Several establishments have also caused controversy by banning children. In February of this year, a restaurant in New Jersey, USA, sparked a similar debate after announcing that it would no longer allow children under the age of ten.
Nettie’s Spaghetti House he explained that although they “love kids”, it had become “extremely challenging” to accommodate children to a mix of responses on social media.
While some described the move as “beyond another level messy,” another said: “Cruise ships don’t have kid-friendly restaurants.” [and] areas, resorts do too.
“Why are people going crazy over this like an establishment has never done this before? I applaud your decision.”
Similarly, in the UK, Mop Draper, the owner of The Compass Inn in Hampshire, introduced a total ban for children under 12 due to continued “bad behaviour” in 2021.
The 26-year-old owner had previously been “forced” to make her pub child-free six days a week in 2020, but as the situation didn’t improve, she made it permanent.
Similarly, Congresswoman Stella Creasy faced criticism after brought her 13-week-old baby to a parliamentary debate in 2021.
South Korean lawmakers will make their decision on whether or not to pass the proposed bill, which would be the first of its kind in the country, later this month.
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