Seoul City has announced that it aims to attract 10 million foreign tourists in 2010 by promoting the tourism industry as the city’s top priority to help it create 30,000 jobs and generate 6 trillion won (US$5.3 billion) in economic benefits. In particular, Seoul City said it will maximize the effect of job creation and economic benefits by making the city one of leading destinations for medical and convention tourism.
As part of efforts to boost the convention industry, Seoul City plans to host 150 international conferences, or 300,000 foreign visitors, in 2010, compared with 120 global conferences, or about 230,000 foreign visitors, last year.
With regard to medical tourism, which is gaining popularity among people in Asian nations by drawing them to travel to Seoul for medical care, cosmetic surgery or health checkups, Seoul City plans to take comprehensive measures to boost the number of foreign tourists for medical tourism to 52,000 this year, compared with 37,000 last year.
As South Korea plans to waive visa requirements for Chinese tourists, Seoul City plans to develop and sell unique tour packages to increase the number of Chinese tourists to Seoul to 1.8 million this year, compared with 1.34 million last year.
Meanwhile, Seoul City was ranked third in a list of ‘The 31 Places to Go in 2010’ by the New York Times. In its Jan. 10 edition, the New York Times picked ‘Seoul, the 2010 World Design Capital’ as the third place in its list of the ‘The 31 Places to Go in 2010,’ after Sri Lanka and Patagonia Wine Country of Argentina. With its headline saying, ‘Design aficionados are now heading to Seoul,’ the U.S. newspaper described Seoul as a city where design enthusiasts are flocking due to the “city’s glammed-up cafes and restaurants, immaculate art galleries and monumental fashion palaces”.
In order to capitalize on such attention at home and abroad, Seoul City has said it will step up efforts with the central government to successfully implement the ‘2010 Visit Korea Year – With Seoul.’ By attracting 10 million foreign tourists this year, Seoul City aims to create 30,000 jobs and generate 6 trillion won in economic benefits to rejuvenate the city’s economy.
An official at Seoul City said, “2010 is ‘Visit Korea Year’ and the year when Seoul is designated as the World Design Capital, which hosts various design-related events. Also, the G-20 summit is planned for November in Seoul. Keeping those events in mind,, Seoul City plans to launch a campaign to better welcome foreign tourists, boost medical tourism and improve facilities for international visitors. These plans will help Seoul City attract 10 million tourists this year for the first time.”