The Deputy Prime Minister(left) and Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism(right)
The government held a meeting on economic issues between the government and the private sector at the Seoul government building on November 3 under the auspices of Kim Dong-yeon, the deputy prime minister for economic affairs and minister of finance, and announced the plan to revitalize the tourism market. Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Doo Jong Hwan attended the meeting as well.
The government plans to use the recovery of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Korea-China relations as a driving force for the recovery of the visiting tourism market in Korea. Kim Dong-yeon, the deputy prime minister, said, “Although the tourism industry that has visited last year has grown, it has shrunk considerably this year.” The number of Chinese tourists has decreased from 3.23 million people in the same period last year(61.3 %).” “There has been concern that the declining number of tourists could shrink the tourism industry and reduce the number of related jobs,” he added.
The government first operates two large cruises at Sokcho during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games as an accommodation facility. The government explained that it can secure about 2,261 rooms through this. It will also organize free shuttle buses that will operate the Olympic city, including Pyeongchang and Gangneung, and neighboring cities.
The government plans to diversify tourists recruiting countries in order to lower their reliance on Chinese tourists in the long run. For this purpose, tourists from three countries, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam who are coming to Korea through Yangyang Airport, will be temporarily allowed to Visa-free enter the country until April next year. PyeongChang will host visitors to the Olympic Winter Games and introduce them to the winter sports tourists.
The government issues multiple visas for Chinese and Southeast Asian nationals who have visited the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries including Korea once. The government plans to expand programs such as 72-hour transit tour programs that international passengers who can enter without a visa while waiting for a transfer.
The government will also relax the conditions for qualifying tour guides for tourist guides in Vietnamese, Thai, and Arabic to expand the interpretation service for Southeast Asian tourists. The government has announced that it will double the number of special language guides for this year until next year by easing the exemption standards for foreign language tests.
The government also plans to utilize the restoration of relations with China to attract tourists. China’s local media and travel agency headquarters are invited to Korea to introduce new tourist destinations and promote high-level Chinese talks to resume tourism exchanges. “We will hold a briefing on tourism related to China in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and we will rebuild the distribution channels that we have visited.” Kim said.
The government will also strengthen support for high-value tourism products such as cruise tourism and medical tourism. The plan is to allow Chinese cruise passengers designated by the Ministry of Justice for a temporary time next year to land on a Visa-free land. Based on the results of the project next year, the government plan to expand the number of people who will enter the designated cruise visa.
In order to attract Chinese medical tourists, the government will nurture Korean medical brands in China and reinforce local recognition by establishing a Korea Medical Center in Shanghai next year. The government will also designate multiple international conferences and accumulation facilities by the first half of next year to foster local MICE (corporate meetings, reward tourism, convention, exhibition) industry.
The deputy prime minister Kim said, “We will speed up these projects and achieve tangible results by the end of the year. Additional challenges and challenges to be pursued over the medium to long term will be discussed at the ‘National Tourism Strategy Meeting’.”
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