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Seoul Tourism Organization aims to attract 28 million foreign tourists by 2026

Kil Ki-yon, head of Seoul Tourism Organization (Yonhap)
Kil Ki-yon, head of Seoul Tourism Organization (Yonhap)
With expanded global tourism infrastructure and distinctive travel themes, Seoul looks to become a landmark city like Paris and London, according to Kil Ki-yon, head of the Seoul Tourism Organization.

The STO announced its “endemic tourism” initiative, a strategy to promote tourism in the latter half of the year, during a press conference on Monday in Seoul.

The organization will work together with Seoul Metropolitan Government to achieve its goal of attracting an average of 28 million foreign tourists annually within the next four years announced by Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon earlier last week. The STO’s statistics show that 13.37 million foreign visitors came to Seoul in 2019, before the pandemic.

To meet the goal, the STO mapped out four major events for coming months.

The 2022 Seoul Festa will be held for five days from Aug. 10, at the Jamsil Sports Complex. With Seoul ePrix’ electric car-racing event taking center stage, K-pop concerts by singer Rain, NCT Dream and other artists will follow.

K-pop phenomenon BTS will continue to serve as Seoul tourism honorary ambassadors this year, a position the group had held since 2017. A new promotion video featuring BTS is scheduled to be filmed in August. 

Hikers receive hiking gear rentals at the Seoul Hiking Tourism Center, located nearby the entrance to Bukhansan, in Ui-dong, northern Seoul, during its test operation on June 22. (STO)
Hikers receive hiking gear rentals at the Seoul Hiking Tourism Center, located nearby the entrance to Bukhansan, in Ui-dong, northern Seoul, during its test operation on June 22. (STO)
The Seoul Hiking Tourism Center in Ui-dong, northern Seoul, is set to open in September, following a pilot operation in June. The center will provide hiking gear rental services as well as relevant information for foreign hikers. 

In late December, the annual Seoul Lantern Festival will be held at the newly opened Gwanghwamun Square. The festival attracted some 400,000 on-site visitors last year, proving its popularity even during the pandemic.

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