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Six major festivals to draw foreign tourists

Visit Korea Committee adds two more festivals to round off Visit Korea Year

The Visit Korea Committee announced on Monday plans to attract 1.1 million tourists this year and revitalize provincial tours. The year 2012 is the final year of the Visit Korea Year campaign which commenced in 2010. Last year, the number of tourists reached just under 10 million, according to the committee.

The committee selected six major festivals to focus on this year, including two newly added to the list ― the Jinhae Naval Port Festival in Changwon City, South Gyeongsang Province, and the International Peace and Life Festival in the Demilitarized Zone in Gangwon Province.

Other than the two, the Hallyu Dream Festival held in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province; Busan International Fireworks Festival in Busan Metropolitan City; Korea Food Festival in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province; and Jeju Olle Walking Festival on Jeju Island are once again included.

“Last year, about 3 million tourists participated in the four festivals, which is about an 11 percent increase compared to the previous year. Among them, the number of foreigners increased by 24 percent,” said Han Kyung-ah, head of the committee’s marketing division.

“We will continue to work with local governments to disperse foreign tourists who tend to crowd in Seoul and show the various charms of Korea,” said Han.

Officials added that the ultimate goal for this year is to raise $1.3 billion through tourism and rank within the top 20 in the world in terms of tourism competency.

The Jinhae Naval Port Festival, also known as Jinhae Gunhangje, which highlights rows of cherry blossoms in full bloom, also offers a concert celebrating the 50th year of the festival on March 31 as well as various attractions in the Admiral Yi Sun-sin Experience Zone. The festival will run April 1-10. 
A view of a previous Jinhae Naval Port Festival. (Visit Korea Committee)
A view of a previous Jinhae Naval Port Festival. (Visit Korea Committee)

The International Peace Festival, hosted by Gangwon Province for the first time to promote the importance of life and peace in the DMZ, will be held May 19-21 at the DMZ and its surrounding areas. The festival includes the Peace & Life concert, which will take place on May 19 at the main stadium of Songam Sports Town in Chuncheon City; the DMZ Peace Bike Competition on May 20 at Hwacheon-gun’s Life Sports Park and DMZ Eco-tour Programs around the area also on May 20.

Like last year, the Hallyu Dream Festival, which will be held Sept. 21-23, is expected to attract a large number of young foreign tourists. It will be composed of the Hallyu Dream Concert scheduled for Sept. 22 and the Hallyu Star Fan Meeting Event on Sept. 23 as well as tours around the city of Gyeongju which was the capital of the Silla Kingdom for over 1,000 years.

The Busan International Fireworks Festival will light up the city with brilliant fireworks Oct. 26-27; the Korea Food Festival will introduce the finest of Korean cuisine Oct. 18-22; and Jeju Olle Walking Festival will offer breathtaking views of Jeju Island’s mountain ranges and caves through a pleasant walk through the island which was named one of the new seven wonders of the world. The event will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 3.

For more information on the festivals, visit

By Park Min-young  (
Korea Herald Youtube