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Can Leisure and Entertainment Make a Return?
Written by Hanseung Cho | Published. 2020.12.28 16:38 | Count : 107
[Viewing one of the movies in the exhibition. Photo courtesy of the author]

Due to the lax safety precautions and end-of-year holiday celebrations, the number of coronavirus cases has multiplied to levels where the government has deemed it necessary to raise the social distancing measures to Level 2.5 (max. of Level 3). Because of this change, it seems as if traditional mediums of entertainment will be unavailable until the vaccines have been distributed. Therefore, to adapt and thrive under these new and difficult circumstances, many companies within the various entertainment industries have come up with different ways to adapt and continue making their services available to the public.

One viral instance of an adaptation to the new entertainment crisis is the invention of mock flights by some airlines, including China Airlines and EVA. Unlike regular flights, which take passengers to their desired location, these mock flights simply return to their original location to provide passengers with an authentic flight experience. Furthermore, some airlines, such as EVA, have expanded this service even further, by adding an in-flight meal served by Michelin three-star chef Motoke Nakamura. Another adaptation has been made in the music industry. Many artists have opted to continue holding their performances on online platforms, which allow them to continue interacting with their fans even during the pandemic.

[An airport-themed entrance ticket in the form of a passport. Photo courtesy of the author]

I was able to experience one of these adaptations myself. This weekend, I visited “Beyond Reality: Over Incheon Airport” at the Transportation Center of Incheon Airport. Simply put, this exhibition is a pandemic-adapted version of a theatre, but with a wide range of movies available and minimal waiting time for each individual film. Each station in the exhibition held its own interactive, short film or animation in the form of a VR video, and the visitors were able to choose which one they wished to see.

During the pandemic, within the field of entertainment, the film industry, and movie theaters, in particular, was arguably the most negatively impacted sector. The fear of being confined in a densely seated room with limited ventilation for extended periods of time drove people away from visiting movie theaters during this pandemic. Furthermore, many people turned to online streaming or video platforms such as Netflix or YouTube to satisfy their desire for visual entertainment. Therefore, since the outbreak of the pandemic, Korea’s most renowned movie theater company, CGV, suffered a 70% decrease in income and consequently had to close approximately 40 theatres. However, after visiting this exhibit, I was able to see, and am now hopeful, that the film industry could possibly make a comeback.

Although some risk is always present in any public area, when I visited this exhibit, I was impressed by the safety precautions that were undertaken by the staff in order to ensure all of the visitors had a safe yet enjoyable experience. Throughout the visit, I was required to wear gloves and a special face mask for the upper half of my face (under the VR goggles), in addition to the regular face mask that has become a staple as of late. The exhibit was also organized in a spacious way so the visitors could maintain social distancing at all times, and, each station was sanitized by the staff after every use.

Many companies and firms have been forced to adapt to the new conditions under this pandemic in order to survive in their respective industries. Music artists have recorded their performances on YouTube or hosted concerts through social media live streams, and after many regular flights were suspended, airlines were forced to come up with other ways to replicate the joyous experience of travel. Within this new age, the film industry was the one that faced arguably the largest obstacle to its recovery. However, after making a visit to this exhibition, I am hopeful that the film and visual entertainment industry will be able to make a comeback and continue allowing consumers to enjoy their services while ensuring their safety amid the pandemic.





Hanseung Cho
Junior (Grade 11)
Seoul Foreign School

Hanseung Cho  student_reporter@dherald.com

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