The annual shopping and tourism festival for this year has kicked off, functioning as means to attract foreign visitors while boosting interest in the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
The Visit Korea Committee on Thursday held the opening ceremony for Korea Grand Sale 2018 in front of Doota Mall in Dongdaemun, Seoul. It was attended by some 100 officials from the tourism industry along with government representatives.
An opening ceremony for Korea Grand Sale 2018 is being held in front of Doota Mall in Dongdaemun, Seoul on Thursday. (Visit Korea Committee)
Until Feb. 28, Some 700 enterprises and 52,000 shops across the country will participate in the event. They will offer discounts on shopping and tourism related service such as flight tickets, accommodations and restaurants, along with lucky draws for some customers.
The local governments of Gangneung city and Pyeongchang-gun, where the Olympics are being staged, will take part in the event, as well as neighboring city of Sokcho in Gangwon Province. Discount on temple stay programs in the region will be available along with resort and aquariums in the area.
The VKC will set up temporary tourism service centers for foreigners in major tourist sites like Myeong-dong, Gwanghwamun, Namsan and Hongdae in Seoul, along with Incheon International Airport and Gimpo International Airport -- the gateways to the country. They will offer free internet and Wi-Fi to foreigners, along with tourism translation services.
As a bid to promote the PyeongChang games, operators have also set up free rides via G Shuttle and K Travel Bus from Seoul to Gangwon Province, where the international sports event will take place,
At the event center in Dongdaemun, which will operate daily from 1-9 p.m. during the sales period, dolls of Olympic mascots Suhorang and Bandabi and other free prizes will be handed to the first 100 foreign visitors.
The VKC and Seoul Metropolitan Government have designated Jan. 26-Feb. 25 as the period of welcoming for the foreigners.
“In order to successfully host Korea Grand Sale and PyeongChang Olympics, I think it is most important for us to be kind to foreigners,” said Kim Yeong-hoo, a 36-year-old policeman participating in the VKC’s K-Smile campaign. The campaign refers to selecting a group of people among a range of tourism-related fields for volunteer jobs.
For more information, visit www.koreagrandsale.co.kr/en.
By Yoon Min-sik