A shopping and tourism festival has been kicked off to attract foreign tourists by offering them exclusive discounts during their stay in Korea.
Visit Korea Committee, under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, launched Korea Grand Sale 2017 Friday with an opening ceremony in front of Doota Mall in Dongdaemun, Seoul.
Representatives of the Visit Korea Committee, Korea Tourism Organization, Korea Tourism Association, and the Korea Association of Travel Agents attended the event which also featured performances by K-pop boyband Boys 24 and performers Painter’s Hero.
The Korea Grand Sale, which continues until Feb. 28, will offer foreign tourists various discounts in accommodation, shopping, beauty care, and entertainment. Some 450 companies and 40,000 shops are participating in the event.
Participants at the Korea Grand Sale 2017 opening ceremony in Seoul on Friday pose for a photo. / Visit Korea Committee
Boy band Boys 24 performs at Friday’s opening ceremony for the Korea Grand Sale 2017 in Seoul. Visit Korea Committee
An event center will be operated daily from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. during the sales period. It will provide services such as interpretation in English, Japanese and Chinese, event information, and free Wi-Fi access.
Kanae Tanaka, 53-year-old tourist from Osaka, Japan, said the event was one of the reasons she came to visit.
“I usually come here for K-pop, Hallyu, drama, shopping and tourism. I found out about (the Korea Grand Sale) via SNS and I decided to come,” said Tanaka, who is nearing her 50th visit to the country.
One of the biggest appeals of Korea, she said, was its abundant help for tourists who were unable to speak Korean.
Yukiko Ishiko, 63, said her visits to Korea even predated the construction of Incheon International Airport in 2001. She said the distance, price and food all motivated her more than 30 visits to Korea.
“Compared to before, Korea is more glamorous, offering more for youngsters. I think that is the biggest appeal (of Korea) as a place to visit,” she said.
Yoo Dong-hun, vice culture minister, said he hoped Korea Grand Sale would be an opportunity revitalize the domestic economy while sparking international interest in the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)