From guided tours to traditional and trendy spots in Seoul to a lucky draw event, Korea is readying for the arrival of more than 60,000 Chinese tourists during China’s week-long holidays starting this weekend.
Expecting the number of Chinese visitors to increase by about 25 percent from the previous holidays, the state-run Korea Tourism Organization has been preparing events for the large influx of tourists.
It is holding a welcoming event at the Incheon International Airport, providing welcoming gifts to Chinese tourists through Feb. 12.
|Korea Tourism Organization CEO Lee Charm (center) poses with Chinese tourists during a guided tour to Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul on Thursday. (The Korea Tourism Organization)|
A lucky draw event in the bustling shopping district of Myeong-dong gives away prizes such as department store gift cards, airline tickets and cosmetic products for foreign customers who make purchases of more than 50,000 won from Feb. 9-17.
The highlight of the Lunar New Year event is the half-day guided tours to the traditional spots of Bukchon and Insa-dong and the trendy streets of Hongdae, as well as the rising cultural and commercial district of Samcheong-dong and Buam-dong. The tours are led by Korean college students studying the Chinese language, who have been selected by the KTO.
On Thursday, the KTO CEO Lee Charm accompanied a group of Chinese tourists on a guided trip to Bukchon, an area which boasts a cluster of traditional Korean houses called hanok, restaurants and art galleries.
Various cultural events are held at the Tourist Information Center on the basement floor of the KTO building in Jongno, Seoul, until Feb. 16. Tourists can experience Korean folk games such as yunnori (a board game played by tossing sticks) and tuho (arrow-throwing game), and take pictures wearing the traditional Korean costume, hanbok.
Tourists can receive calligraphy by a professional calligrapher from Feb. 11-16 at the spot. Reservations are not required.
While the number of Japanese tourists started to decline with the fall in the value of the Japanese yen and the territorial dispute resurfacing between Korea and Japan, the number of Chinese tourists has exceeded Japanese tourists as the largest number of foreign tourists coming to Korea.
The KTO expects a 16 percent increase in the number of Chinese tourists this year and a 20 percent increase in spending by the Chinese.
“We expect China to become the biggest inbound market for Korea. Amid the growing number of tourists, we face challenges such as improving service quality and developing a variety of travel programs. More programs will be introduced, especially for independent travelers,” said Han Hwa-joon, director of KTO’s China Team.
By Lee Woo-young (email@example.com