The popularity of ‘Crash Landing on You' has brought a huge number of Asian tourists to this picturesque lakeside village.
Once the South Korean series "Crash Landing on You" filmed an iconic scene in Iseltwald, the tiny Swiss village was destined to have a date with thousands of fans.
According to local tourism office manager Titia Weiland, the village of around 400 people has seen 1,000 visitors for every local person since last year.
The hugely popular series first aired back in December 2019. But with COVID restrictions only recently lifting across much of Asia, fans of the show are now fulfilling their travel dreams.
"I think almost everybody in Iseltwald is happy to have many tourists because it's an important part of the village and we're all used to it, having tourists, especially in summer time,'' says Weiland.
“But it's been quite overwhelming to have that many tourists coming so suddenly, and also coming for a very short visit."
What’s the romantic appeal of Iseltwald, Switzerland?
There’s one scene in particular that has got tourists’ hearts racing, and it features a piano at the end of the jetty.
"It is impossible to meet North (Korean) people for our South Koreans,” explains Haneuil Lee, visiting with her friends from South Korea. “But in the drama they fall in love with each other and meet in Switzerland, and it means a lot."
There’s a special thrill in visiting a place from one of your favourite shows or films, as Isabel Palijon, a 38-year-old tourist from the Philippines recently found.
“It feels great and awesome, because they went here. And I feel like, oh, I just also love the series, it’s a really nice feeling."
Minh Ha, visiting from Vietnam, says "I think this is one of the most romantic places in the world, that's why I have been visiting too. So I think the Korean movie filmmakers [made] a very good choice to select this location, and somehow it helped this town to become more popular in the world."
Is Iseltwald suffering from another case of overtourism?
The jetty isn’t just a backdrop for beautiful selfies, however. It’s meant for small boats to land in the Iseltwald, explains Weiland, and for people visiting the nearby restaurant.
The influx of visitors all converging on this one spot has been “an interesting thing for a small village like Iseltwald,” the local tourism office manager says.
"It is very pretty. It's not just pretty for the Korean people,” she adds.
“It's pretty for people all over the world. It's like paradise on earth, but we want to really try to keep it that way. That's what we're trying to achieve."