Seoul is top tourist area for several Asian nations

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Seoul is top tourist area for several Asian nations

Seoul is the No.1 place where Japanese, Chinese and Thai tourists want to visit, beating out New York, Paris, Honolulu, Maldives and Rome, according to a survey conducted by AC Nielsen, an international market research firm.

This is the second consecutive year that Seoul was in the No. 1 position, the Seoul city government said yesterday.

The survey result comes a few days after Seoul was ranked the No. 3 place to visit this year by The New York Times in an article called: “The 31 Places to Go in 2010.” The Times travel article remains at the top of the most e-mailed articles in the travel section.

Over 1,600 Japanese, Chinese, and Thai tourists who either plan to travel abroad this year or had traveled abroad before in the past two years participated in the online survey.

In the survey conducted in December, 11.4 percent of 800 Chinese respondents picked Seoul as the city they want to visit the most followed by Tokyo (9.9 percent), Paris (8.8 percent), and Maldives (7.4 percent).

Japanese respondents echoed the sentiment of Chinese prospective tourists with 9.8 percent of 500 Japanese respondents saying they want to visit Seoul, outpacing Honolulu, which garnered 9.6 percent, and Rome and New York, which were both listed by 5.4 percent of those polled.

Three hundred prospective Thai tourists participated in the survey and 20 percent chose Seoul as their first choice of places to visit.

Tokyo at 10.3 percent, Maldives at 7.7 percent and Paris at 5.3 percent followed.

Separately, the research company also surveyed 600 other tourists from the three countries who visited Seoul, asking them what the most decisive factor was for their decision.

Many said they saw advertisements about Seoul and watched a Korean TV drama series that showed scenes of the city.

The Seoul city government created and broadcast a TV advertisement “Infinitely yours, Seoul,” featuring the popular K-pop groups Girls Generation, Super Junior, and TVXQ to target potential tourists in Asia.

“There are eyes on Seoul this year as the Korean government is hosting G-20 Summit and Seoul is hosting the 2010 World Design Capital,” said Kang Cheol-won, an official at the city government’s public relations bureau.

“And Seoul was ranked third by The New York Times as a place to go in 2010,” Kang added.

“The city government will continue its marketing strategy to attract more foreign tourists beyond Asia,” he said.

By Kim Mi-ju []

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