The government will expand its "visit Korea" campaign to foreign travelers by making appeals with the weaker won, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said yesterday.
Despite the economy being hit hard by the Korean won losing its value against the U.S. dollar, the weaker won could offer an opportunity to promote Korea as a popular tourism destination to countries around the world, officials said.
Korean won lost nearly 30 percent against the greenback last year alone.
Not only the government and its tourism promotion agency, but also local hotels, duty free shops, casinos and air carriers have been joining hands to lure foreign visitors since last year. The government expects to create jobs and earn foreign currencies by drawing more attention from foreign travelers to Korea.
In Japan, the government has been promoting the "visit Korea" campaign, saying that they can do more with less money in Korea by taking advantage of the strong yen against the won. The Seoul government has been running advertisements through various media channels in Japan since last October. The government plans to market its "cheaper won" campaign to China and Southeast Asian countries.
The number of Japanese visitors to Korea jumped 13.28 percent and 52.72 percent, respectively in November and December.
More than 110,000 Japanese travelers visited Korea in December, exceeding the government`s expectations, the Korea Tourism Organization said.
The increase in foreign visitors has contributed to the rise in tourism revenue in November with $1.1 billion, a 66.7 percent increase from a year ago. It has also helped the country reduce its tourist deficit to $3.1 billion last year from $10.1 billion a year ago.
The Tourism Ministry aims to attract 10 million travelers from overseas this year, generating 1 trillion won ($718 million) in revenue as well as 390,000 new jobs by 2012. This will enable Korea to become the world`s 20th-ranked travel and tourism competitive country by that year, from its current rank of 35, according to the ministry.
By Cho Chung-un