President Lee Myung-bak called Monday for South Koreans to head to domestic destinations for vacation, saying it will contribute greatly to spurring domestic demand that is key to revitalizing the country’s economy.
Lee made the appeal in a biweekly radio address, saying that sluggish domestic demand is to blame for economic difficulties felt by low-income people, though South Korea’s economy is faring well compared with other nations.
“More than anything else, the domestic market should be revived for the sake of improving the economic sentiment,” Lee said.
“Spending vacation time within the country will be of great help in reviving local economies and the finances of low-income people.”
Tourism is more effective in creating jobs than manufacturing, Lee said. He cited statistics that if all South Koreans spend one more day of vacation at domestic tourist attractions, it will have the effect of infusing about 2 trillion won ($1.9 billion) into regional economies and creating some 40,000 jobs.
Last year, about 12 million South Koreans, or a quarter of the country’s 50 million population, spent vacation overseas, while only a little over 8 million foreign tourists visited the country, Lee said.
“Attracting foreign tourists is important, but having Koreans spend their vacation in the homeland is crucial,” Lee said. “This summer, I would really like to see many government workers take some days off for vacations with their families.”