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Seoul releases a four-year plan to boost tourism

City wants to promote attractions beyond cheap shopping

Sept 21,2018
The Seoul city government announced a four-year plan on Thursday to develop the tourism industry, including a plan to expand the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology and provide a travel fund to low-income families.

“Seoul intends to attract a total of 50 million tourists both foreign and domestic in 2023,” Joo Yong-tae, head of the tourism and sports bureau of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, said in a news conference at City Hall on Thursday. “Some of the plans include the use of smart technologies to create a different experience for visitors.”

The city government plans to offer virtual reality programs for prospective visitors to Seoul on its tourism website and mobile app by 2023.

“Before the visitors come to Seoul, they will be able to see various spots in Seoul through the VR and AR programs on the website and app,” a bureau official said. “We will also be using IoT technology to collect big data on tourism throughout Seoul and possibly work with private companies to develop some kind of platform that visitors can access to gain immediate information on where the must-see places in Seoul are located wherever they end up in the city.”

The city government said it would designate 20 places in Seoul as must-see destinations that offer more than shopping. “The city unfortunately has an image as a cheap place to visit for shopping,” the city government said. “Seoul is not just another city for shopping. We will designate 20 places to visit, including examples of city renovation projects like the Oil Tank Culture Park in Mapo District, and help improve the brand of Seoul as a singular destination.”

The four-year plan will not only focus on attracting international visitors; it will encourage Koreans to come to Seoul.

“When we say 50 million tourists, we mean 23 million foreign visitors and 27 million domestic tourists,” a bureau officials said. “We want to develop tourism in the city in a way that is balanced, to have both foreigners and Koreans enjoy good parts of Seoul while minimizing overcrowding and problems with too many tourists.”

In 2016, a record 13.45 million foreigners visited Seoul, the city government said. To encourage more Koreans to travel, the city government plans to underwrite travel by part-time or contract workers as well as people from low-income households and people with impairments.

“We intend to provide a travel fund to 65,000 part-time and contract workers by 2023 to encourage them to take time off from work and travel,” the city government said, “and from next year into 2023, we intend to provide part of the costs of travel to 2,000 individuals with impairments or low incomes every year.”

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]


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