K Star Road kicks off tourism plans

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K Star Road kicks off tourism plans

It’s not much to look at yet, but the K-pop tourism project K Star Road got its start yesterday with a proclamation ceremony at Galleria Department Store’s Luxury Hall West in Apgujeong, southern Seoul.

Popular idol stars including SHINee, EXO, CN Blue and AOA attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which is the first step in a series of long-term moves by the Gangnam District Office designed to promote the ritzy area south of the Han River.

K Star Road will be developed over the next year, transforming this 1.08 kilometer (0.67 mile) stretch of road - from the Galleria, past leading K-pop agency SM Entertainment and down to Cube Entertainment and JYP Entertainment - into something special for Korean Wave fans.

Along K Star Road, signposts will help guide fans to some 48 shopping spots and restaurants frequently visited by K-pop singers and other stars, adding unique stories about each location. Each spot will be clearly marked, and many benches will be installed along the way, which should be good places to take photos at.

In addition, a guidebook on those 48 locations will be offered at the nearby Gangnam Tourist Information Center, featuring more in-depth descriptions as well as at each designated venue.

The K Star Road project was announced last year as part of the district’s plans to make Gangnam more tourist-friendly.

Thanks to Psy’s big 2012 hit “Gangnam Style,” the area has grown ever-more popular with foreign tourists, and 5.1 million people - more than half of Seoul’s foreign visitors - reportedly stopped by the district last year.

In addition to K Star Road, Gangnam is also planning on creating a K Fashion Road, focusing on the area’s rich fashion offerings; K Beauty Road, for cosmetic shops and beauty clinics; K Riverside Road, which will lead people to the Hangang Park by the Han River; and K Gourmet Road, dedicated to the bountiful eatery options in the area.

In the future, the district says it also plans to expand the range of areas marketed by the “K” projects, as well as the breadth of cultural contents. It will present souvenirs such as celebrity hand prints, photo exhibitions, and mobile applications.

“By having this proclamation ceremony, we expect to clarify our vision for K Road, which was somewhat vague before. We hope that more tourists will visit Gangnam District in the future,” said one district official.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [estyle@joongang.co.kr]

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