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2012 ‘Korea Grand Sale’ begins

Poster for 2012 “Korea Grand Sale” (Visit Korea Committee)
Poster for 2012 “Korea Grand Sale” (Visit Korea Committee)
Shopping festival for foreign visitors from Jan. 9

While K-pop and TV dramas may be the first two things that pop into one’s head at the word “Korea,” a real fan of the country knows that Korea is also a top shopping destination.

From Jan. 9 through Feb. 29, Korea is offering a massive shopping festival for overseas visitors looking for a chance to open up their wallets on reasonably priced products, nice food and memorable events.

Organized by the Visit Korea Committee, the “2012 Korea Grand Sale,” will be joined by a total of 22,800 shops and 77 different business firms.

During the sale period, visitors will be able to enjoy up to 50 percent discount on shopping, dining, accommodation and entertainment in Seoul, Busan, Jeju and other major cities across the country.

The Korea Grand Sale is not just a shopping festival, the Visit Korea Committee says.

Unlike ordinary grand sales held by other countries like Hong Kong and Singapore, the Korea Grand Sale offers a chance to experience exciting hallyu contents with a part of the revenue being donated to multicultural family support projects.

The event “is ultimately a great opportunity to learn and share Korean culture and experience great hospitality and generosity,” Hong Ju-min, Secretary General of the Visit Korea Committee, said.

“We are going to continue developing more diverse contents to develop the Korea Grand Sale into one of the world’s most unique shopping festivals,” she said.

Special welcome events will be held at Incheon International Airport for a week beginning Jan. 9, such as taking a picture with Pororo, a mascot of Visit Korea Year, with scratch lottery tickets ― for free hotel stays, Korea Passes and free theater tickets ― being offered to visitors. 
Overseas tourists pose for a photograph during last year’s Korea Grand Sale festival (Visit Korea Committee)
Overseas tourists pose for a photograph during last year’s Korea Grand Sale festival (Visit Korea Committee)

The opening celebration will be held at DOOTA Shopping Mall in Dongdaemun, central Seoul, on Jan. 13. After the main performances, gifts including accommodations and tours will be given away via random drawing.

Foreign shoppers who visit Hyundai, Shinsegae and Lotte department stores across the country will get the chance to participate in a 10 million won wedding package lottery, which has become popular in China and Southeast Asia over the past few years.

The package lets visitors experience the Korean wedding culture by borrowing a wedding dress and tuxedo to take wedding photos.

Korean stars including Kim Tae-hui, Ahn Seong-gi, Lee Joon-gi and Kim Rae-won will have “Photo Time with Children” at DOOTA Shopping Mall, Lotte Department Store and Hyundai Department Store to raise public awareness about disabled Korean children who have been adopted by American couples.

There will also be a bazaar featuring items donated by famous entertainers and leaders of the Korean Wave. The profits will be donated to help immigrant women from multicultural families visit their hometowns, establish a scholarship fund for children from multicultural families, and support living and medical expenses for multicultural families. Local residents can also take part in the bazaar.

Shoppers can also watch their favorite K-pop stars perform. Some 1,000 foreign visitors will be invited to the 21st High-One Seoul Music Awards which will be held at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena on Jan. 19 to celebrate the Visit Korea Year. Moreover, many other entertainers are scheduled to participate in the Korea Grand Sale.

During the Korea Grand Sale period, a free shuttle bus ― Seoul-Busan and Seoul-Jeonju ― will run once a day every day except for Mondays to promote local tourism. The foreign visitors who book the KTX train through Korea Visit Year’s website ( can receive a special 30 percent discount.

In addition, the southern Seoul Gangnam district will offer a free shuttle bus that stops at major shopping spots such as Myeong-dong, Dongdaemun, Cheongdam-dong and Apgujeong-dong three times a day on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

For more information, visit the website of the 2012 Korea Grand Sale at or call (02) 720-7343.

By Shin Hae-in (