The government plans to attract more Chinese tourists
As the South Korean K-Pop and Korean Wave trends spread around the world, the number of inbound tourists from overseas, and China in particular, increased remarkably. Moreover, their higher spending in South Korea in outlets from luxury goods stores to mass beauty specialist retailers increased tourist receipts in South Korea. In order to attract visitors, the South Korean government eased visa issuance regulations, and encouraged popular retailers to offer convenient payment and communication services for Chinese inbound tourists. The development of unique and memorable tour products for Chinese inbound tourists is also underway in order to communicate a friendly image and encourage them to revisit South Korea.
National plan to solve accommodation shortage
Inbound trips reached more than 11 million in 2012, and South Korea’s long term tourism weakness, which is a shortage of travel accommodation, was monitored and reviewed thoroughly. To solve this problem, the South Korean government announced a plan to encourage the construction of travel accommodation nationwide. This plan included: government grant support; eased regulations for building travel accommodation facilities; support for the renovation of motels or inns as budget travel accommodation; and certification and management guidelines for travel accommodation to maintain quality assurance. By doing so, the South Korean government will target offering 38,000 new hotel rooms and 8,000 rooms in other travel accommodation in addition to the existing accommodation by 2015.
Expansion of low-cost carriers overseas
The expansion of low-cost carriers overseas, especially to Southeast Asian countries, increased passenger capacity and provided more diverse schedules and better prices in 2012. As a result, outbound travel showed growth in 2012, as South Koreans could travel to other countries more conveniently and economically than before. International low-cost carriers conducted aggressive marketing activities in 2012, attracting potential outbound tourists with far lower ticket prices.
Korean Wave sees a second phase
At first, the Korean Wave started from the export and airing of popular South Korean soap operas in other countries. There was then pessimism that the power of the Korean Wave in attracting inbound tourists faced limitations. However, K-Pop started a second phase of the Korean Wave, and the scale and level of interest around the world became much higher than the original Korean Wave. After Psy’s “Gangnam Style” became famous through YouTube, it achieved massive success around the world. In order to use the Korean Wave as an effective driving force to attract inbound tourists, the South Korean government and the private sector developed related tour packages and products related to K-Pop stars. Also, the Korean Wave was used as an effective source of promotion in other countries.
Positive outlook is expected over the forecast period
The South Korean government’s active move to attract more inbound tourists, the expansion of low-cost carriers, offering higher passenger capacity, and the Korean Wave will all play positive roles in overall growth in inbound and outbound tourism in South Korea over the forecast period. Also, domestic tourism is expected to see higher growth thanks to South Koreans regarding travelling as good for their personal wellbeing and refreshment. An increasing number of campers and various regional events will offer further driving forces in domestic tourism.
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