Crash landing on us! Swiss village reels from Netflix fame

1 / 6
Tourists visit the village of Iseltwald at the shore of Lake Brienz, in the Swiss Alps, on June 2, 2023. (AFP)
2 / 6
A couple of tourists seat on the famous pier of a South Korean Netflix serie in the village of Iseltwald at the shore of Lake Brienz, in the Swiss Alps, on June 2, 2023. (AFP)
3 / 6
Tourists take photographs on the famous pier of a South Korean Netflix serie in the village of Iseltwald at the shore of Lake Brienz, in the Swiss Alps, on June 2, 2023. (AFP)
4 / 6
Tourists take a selfie photograph on the famous pier seen in a popular South Korean series on Netflix, in the village of Iseltwald at the shore of Lake Brienz, in the Swiss Alps, on June 2, 2023. (AFP)
5 / 6
Tourists pose for a photograph on the famous pier of a South Korean Netflix serie in the village of Iseltwald at the shore of Lake Brienz, in the Swiss Alps, on June 2, 2023. (AFP)
6 / 6
Tourists take a selfie photograph on the famous pier of a South Korean Netflix serie behind a paying turnstile in the village of Iseltwald at the shore of Lake Brienz, in the Swiss Alps, on June 2, 2023. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 11 June 2023

Crash landing on us! Swiss village reels from Netflix fame

  • The Netflix hit tells the unlikely love story of a South Korean billionaire heiress and a chivalrous North Korean army officer

ISELTWALD, Switzerland: “It’s a dream come true,” said Filipino tourist Isabel Palijon, staring in wonder at a wooden pier framed by the turquoise waters of a Swiss lake and the towering Alps behind.

And she is not alone. Ever since the hugely popular South Korean series “Crash Landing on You” aired a romantic scene shot on this very spot, the picturesque village of Iseltwald has been overrun by Asian tourists.
The Netflix hit tells the unlikely story of a South Korean billionaire heiress who accidentally paraglides into the peninsula’s demilitarised zone, crashing landing onto a chivalrous army officer serving North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Several flashbacks in the show take place in Switzerland, including a riveting romantic scene on Iseltwald’s wooden pier, where the male lead plays a beautiful piano melody that echoes across the water as the girl he will later fall in love with arrives by ferry from Interlaken.

“I wish someday someone would do that for me,” said Jiah Hni Gwee, a 35-year-old from Malaysia, looking longingly at the spot on the pier where the piano stood.
“It would be amazing and romantic.”
She was among dozens of tourists milling around the lakeside on a sunny day last week, as a large steamboat bearing a giant Swiss flag pulled up to the nearby dock, teeming with visitors.
The breathtaking scenery and the romantic setting have made the pier a must-see for so-called “CLOY” fans who make it to Europe.
The 16-part series started airing just as Covid-19 began and it became a must-watch in much of Asia during pandemic lockdowns.
A South Korean culture ministry survey found that CLOY was the second-most popular K-drama show among foreign viewers in 2021 after “Squid Game.”

But its success has caused an unexpected headache for Iseltwald, especially since last year when travel restrictions were lifted across much of Asia.
“The numbers have exploded,” local tourism office manager Titia Weiland told AFP.
She said it was difficult to calculate how many CLOY tourists had come but estimated that “for every local person living here, it’s been 1,000 visitors.”
She stressed that “almost everybody in Iseltwald — population 400 — is happy to have many tourists,” but acknowledged “it has been quite overwhelming.”
Last summer, up to 20 coaches began arriving each day, clogging traffic and sometimes blocking access to the village.
And locals complain that CLOY fans typically rush to the pier for a picture before moving on, often leaving a mess but little money.
In a bid to deal with the influx, the municipality last month announced only pre-booked coaches that pay for reserved parking spots will be let in.
And it installed a turnstile at the pier, which tourists can pass for a “selfie fee” of five Swiss francs ($5.50).

Sonja Hornung, the manager of the Strand Hotel that overlooks the pier, said the measures had made a difference and her restaurant gives customers a turnstile token.
“Last year, it was terrible, (but) it has gotten much better,” she said, hailing the slot system that has dramatically reduced the number of coaches.
Some tourists, however, were a bit dismayed by the turnstile — and the price.
“Oh, five francs!” Florita Lichtensteiger, a 64-year-old Filipino living in Switzerland, exclaimed as she showed up with several visiting relatives.
She grudgingly paid for them to go through, but did not follow, saying she had been here at least 10 times before. “All my guests want to see this place.”
“It’s not worth it,” said Nayeon Park, a 21-year-old from South Korea.
Weiland insisted that the payment was needed for the upkeep of the pier, which had seen the number of people walking on it skyrocket.
“It has to be safe.”
Iseltwald “is like paradise on Earth,” she said. “We want to really try to keep it that way.”

‘Silence is complicity:’ UNICEF spokesperson denounces Israeli massacre, calls for world attention

Updated 12 sec ago

‘Silence is complicity:’ UNICEF spokesperson denounces Israeli massacre, calls for world attention

  • Conflict has killed largest number of UN workers in history, James Elder said
  • At least 15,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7 

LONDON: Accounting from southern Gaza, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder called on the world not to remain complicit and urged heightened attention to the unfolding crisis in Palestine.

The conflict, which has now claimed the lives of more UN workers than any other in history, has resulted in the death of at least 15,000 Palestinians since Oct. 7, according to reports.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Elder emphasized the devastating toll on UNRWA colleagues, with more than 100 individuals killed in what he described as the largest number of casualties in the history of the UN during a seven or eight-week period.

He condemned the situation as both immoral and likely illegal, referring to the current state in Gaza as nothing short of a “bloodbath.”

Elder said: “I feel these safe zones are trying to prepare a narrative for continued massacres of children. Silence is complicity.”

In a separate interview, he criticized the illusion of safety in Gaza, citing instances ranging from children being bombed in hospitals to the deaths of UN colleagues.

UNRWA has confirmed the loss of 111 colleagues since Oct. 7, further underscoring the severity of the crisis.

The UN agency responsible for supporting the relief and human development of Palestinian refugees also revealed alarming statistics: 117 incidents at 85 different premises, with 30 camps directly hit and 55 sustaining collateral damages.

Videos documenting these events circulated widely, drawing attention to Elder’s humanity and compassionate dedication amid extreme circumstances.

A post published on Tuesday by UNRWA on social media described the situation in Gaza as “intolerable” and warned against further escalation of the conflict.

“The resumption of the military operation and its expansion further in southern #Gaza is repeating horrors from past weeks,” the post reads.

“We have said it repeatedly. We are saying it again. No place is safe in #Gaza.”

Between Oct. 7 and Nov. 19, the Gaza Ministry of Health reported more than 12,700 deaths.

Subsequent updates were halted as multiple hospitals collapsed.

Recent reports from the Gaza Government Media Office suggest a grim escalation, with fatalities rising by more than 2,300 to a staggering total of more than 15,000. Among these casualties, about 6,150 are children and about 4,000 are women.

Arab News’ ‘Kingdom Vs Captagon’ deep dive wins gold medal at WAN-IFRA Middle East Awards 2023

Updated 20 min 43 sec ago

Arab News’ ‘Kingdom Vs Captagon’ deep dive wins gold medal at WAN-IFRA Middle East Awards 2023

  • 14-month investigative report wins Best Data Visualization category
  • “Saudi Animal Kingdom” clings second spot in the same category

LONDON: Arab News, the region’s leading English language daily, clinched two prestigious awards at the acclaimed 2023 WAN-IFRA Middle East Media Awards, highlighting its excellence in in-depth investigative journalism.

The publication seized the top honor in the Best Data Visualization category for its groundbreaking investigative feature, “The Kingdom Vs Captagon,” showcasing a 14-month research effort that delves into the pervasive drug crisis in the Arab region. This accomplishment emphasizes the team’s unwavering dedication to delivering compelling and informative content, despite the unprecedented competition in this year’s record-breaking event.

Commenting on the successes, Mohammed Sulami, Arab News Jeddah regional officer, remarked: “This award acknowledges one of the myriad accomplishments of the Arab News team, led by Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas.

“We take pride in this recognition and eagerly anticipate further successes at Arab News, striving to fulfill the aspirations of our valued readers.”

Jurors praised the investigation, noting it as a rare find: “It is very rare to find stories that are well-researched and presented in a friendly and engaging way. This story is one of them.”

This year’s competition witnessed a record-breaking number of entries, making it the most competitive season in WAN-IFRA Middle East history.

In addition to the triumph of “The Kingdom Vs Captagon,” the “Saudi Animal Kingdom” deep dive earned a silver medal, showcasing Arab News’ mastery in compelling storytelling and adept data presentation. This research delves into the intricate subject of the Arabian Peninsula’s delicate ecosystem, shedding light on how the leopard plays a pivotal role in initiatives aimed at conserving and regenerating Saudi Arabia’s landscapes and wildlife.

Omar Nashashibi, the head of the design team at Arab News, expressed pride in winning first and second place, describing it as a “fantastic achievement.”

He added: “Data visualisation and digital storytelling are a big part of what we do, and to have that effort recognised by our audience - especially when shedding light on important topics such as Saudi Arabia’s animal conservation efforts and their battle against Captagon - is a very proud moment for the team.

Since its global expansion and digital transformation plan in 2016, Arab News has consistently stood at the forefront of innovation, relaunching as a digital-first, 24/7 platform with an award-winning design. The publication has garnered numerous design and excellence awards, including the Digital Award of Excellence and the Print Award of Excellence at the 2022 Society for News Design.

Arab News has been recognized by international bodies such as the Indigo Design Awards, the Newspaper Design Competition, the Creative Communication Awards, and the European Newspaper Awards over the years.

With the gold and silver medals awarded for the two deep dives, the publication’s award count has now exceeded 100 — a testament to its continuous contribution to innovation in the regional media landscape.

The Kingdom vs Captagon
Inside Saudi Arabia's war against the drug destroying lives across the Arab world

Saudi Arabia to impose requirement for all media workers to register professionally

Updated 52 min 53 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to impose requirement for all media workers to register professionally

  • Mandate aims to focus on profession’s rights, document professional’s data, implement guidelines
  • All media professionals urged to complete registration by the first half of 2024

LONDON: The second stage of the “professional registration for media professionals” was initiated by the Saudi Media Regulatory Authority on Monday.

All individuals employed in the industry are now required to complete this registration process before the first half of 2024 concludes.

Minister of Information Salman Al-Dosari stated on X that the project’s aim was to preserve rights, regulate and protect the practice of the profession and the anticipated “continuous development, for the sake of a profession that we are betting on and on its practitioners.”

The Saudi Media Regulatory Authority highlighted several advantages that professional registration would offer, including priority access to specialized events, workshops and seminars. It also noted that the registration encompassed more than 50 different professions within the media industry.

To register, the candidate must be working in the sector or related fields, unless they can provide evidence of previous experience in the specific field they are applying for, and must also submit experience certificates from all their previous employers.

Omar Abu Bakr, regulatory affairs adviser at the authority, explained that this step aimed to inform practitioners of the profession and of the latest regulations and legislation.

In a statement to Al-Ekhbariya channel, Abu Bakr urged all media professionals to complete registration by the first half of 2024, emphasizing that practicing in these occupations beyond that timeframe without proper registration would be considered a punishable offense.

More than 5,500 media professionals have benefited from professional registration since the project was launched in 2020, during its first phase.

Similarly, in October 2022, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media introduced a new licensing system to monitor the influencer industry.

The regulatory framework requires that Saudi and non-Saudi content creators in the Kingdom who earn revenue through advertising on social media must apply for a three-year permit for a fee of SR15,000 (roughly $4,000).

GCAM said that the new legislation was required to guarantee greater transparency and better regulation of the industry and its professionals.

The Mayman Show wins best podcast at WAN-IFRA Middle East Awards 2023

Updated 05 December 2023

The Mayman Show wins best podcast at WAN-IFRA Middle East Awards 2023

  • ‘Personable and relatable’ show becomes first award-winning Arab News podcast

LONDON: The Mayman Show, the “personable podcast” by Arab News, has been honored as best podcast at this year’s WAN-IFRA Middle East Awards.

The show is known for its relatable conversations between the host and celebrity guests.

Hussam Al-Mayman, the host and producer, said: “I’m very proud to have The Mayman Show selected in the best podcast category. It has been a very interesting journey that has led me and the team here. We are navigating uncharted territory in terms of news content creation for the Middle East.”

Now in its fourth season, the program has featured an array of celebrities and prominent personalities from the Arab world and beyond, including Saudi Arabia’s first female Olympic sprinter Kariman Abuljadayel and hip-hop artist and actor Qusai Kheder.

Al-Mayman, a former professional in the Saudi communications and media industry and the youngest senior assignment producer for MBC News programs, said that the success of his program lay in building meaningful relationships with guests rather than striving to be the first or number one.

“I am proud to be focused on being the one and only Mayman Show and stay true to my authenticity and bring a personal piece, my guests and myself to every discussion,” he said.

“Thank you for the support, and what you see (or listen to) is what you get. What you haven’t seen is even better yet.”

This year’s WAN-IFRA Middle East Awards witnessed a record-breaking number of entries, marking it as the most competitive season in its history.

Since its digital transformation in 2016, Arab News has consistently led in innovation and expansion of its services. The publication’s transition to a digital-first, 24/7 platform with an award-winning design has garnered numerous design and excellence accolades, but the recognition for The Mayman Show marks a significant milestone as the first podcast award.

In 2023 alone, Arab News secured multiple visual storytelling awards in prestigious competitions, including the Society for News Design Awards, International Newspaper Design Competition, Indigo Awards, and European Newspaper Awards.

For more information about Arab News and its award-winning design, visit

CNN producer Ibrahim Dahman loses nine relatives in Israeli strike on Gaza

Updated 05 December 2023

CNN producer Ibrahim Dahman loses nine relatives in Israeli strike on Gaza

  • Ibrahim Dahman earlier escaped to Egypt with his family

DUBAI: CNN producer Ibrahim Dahman lost nine relatives in an Israeli air strike in northern Gaza, CNN reported.

Dahman had escaped to Egypt with his family, but on Sunday heard news that at least nine family members were killed when the building they were living in Beit Lahia took a direct hit by an Israeli strike.

His uncle, and the uncle’s wife, daughter and two grandchildren, as well as his aunt, her husband and two children perished, while at least two other relatives are in critical condition and others are still buried under the rubble.

Dahman’s childhood home in Gaza City was also destroyed in a separate strike on an adjacent building the same day, CNN reported.

“I will never be able to forget every stone and corner of the house in which I was born and raised and in which my children were born,” Dahman said in the CNN report.

“They were extremely peaceful and simple people, and their entire lives were devoted solely to work and raising their sons and daughters. They have no affiliation with any organization or group… Pray to God to have mercy on them all.”

Dahman’s brother had earlier called to tell him that his home in Gaza City, where he was born and grew up, has been reduced to ruins by the Israeli bombardment.

He had just finished renovating the apartment months before the Hamas attack, and told CNN he had fond memories living there, including celebrating his sons’ birthdays with cake and candles surrounded by family.

“Unfortunately, I left all my memories, my belongings, and the gifts that my bosses sent me at work in this house, all of which were lost under the rubble now.”

Israel’s military resumed combat operations against Hamas in Gaza last week after accusing Hamas of violating a seven-day temporary truce by firing toward Israeli territory.

The seven-day pause, which began on Nov. 24 and was extended twice, had allowed for the exchange of dozens of hostages held in Gaza for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and facilitated the entry of humanitarian aid into the shattered coastal strip.

Israel has sworn to annihilate the Palestinian militant group, which rules Gaza, in response to the Oct. 7 rampage when Hamas gunmen killed 1,200 people and took 240 hostages.