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Palaces free for all on Children’s Day in policy U-turn

A family of foreigners wearing hanbok walk up steps at Deoksugung in central Seoul on April 19. (Yonhap)
A family of foreigners wearing hanbok walk up steps at Deoksugung in central Seoul on April 19. (Yonhap)
In response to public outrage over the exclusion of foreign children from free admission to local historical sites on Children’s Day, the Cultural Heritage Administration on Thursday announced plans to revise the policy and will now allow all visitors, regardless of age or nationality, to enter at no cost.

The original post, which was taken down Wednesday morning, said two accompanying guardians of children under the age of 12 would be admitted free of charge to seven designated palaces and royal tombs on Children’s Day. A note on the post said that foreign children were exempt from the holiday promotion.

“We made the decision (for Children’s Day) in hopes of providing more opportunities for the public to enjoy cultural heritage,” the CHA said in a press release Thursday. It added that the current admission fee structure for palaces and tombs will also be reevaluated, as it does not reflect the current “social trend of respecting cultural diversity.”

As for free admission being offered on the day of the presidential inauguration, May 10, which was also detailed in the post, the CHA said that the policy has been in place since the inauguration of President Kim Dae-jung in 1998.

The CHA added that the only exception was a special case in 2017, when President Moon Jae-in was inaugurated the day after the presidential election.

By Kim Hae-yeon (hykim@heraldcorp.com)
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