SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, April 23, 2019 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Tourism Organization announced that they will run the “2019 Seoul Welcome Week” for international tourists for 11 days from April 26 until May 6. As this year’s holiday seasons in neighboring countries, such as Japan’s Golden Week (April 27 to May 6) and China’s Labor Day holiday (May 1 to May 4), are longer than usual, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will create more welcoming atmospheres for foreign tourists throughout the downtown Seoul.
Especially, more Japanese tourists are expected to visit Seoul than before to enjoy their extended Golden Week holidays as the Japanese Government designated April 30 and May 1 as national holidays, when the Emperor and the new Emperor are planned to abdicate and ascend the throne. The number of Chinese tourists is also expected to increase as Chinese travel companies are resuming group tours to South Korea that had been banned for several years by the Chinese Government in protest against Korea’s decision to install the US-made anti-missile system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).
With the opening ceremony to be held in the Welcome Center in Myeong-dong, one of the famous shopping districts in Seoul, on April 26, the 2019 Welcome Week will begin in earnest. As an opening event, more than 100 people, including “Red Angels,” tourist helpers on the streets; honorary tourist sheriffs; tourist police officers; “Seoulyz,” a group of Welcome Week supporters consisting of foreign residents; and “Global Seoul Mate,” a group of foreign influencers living in Seoul, will stage street campaigns to encourage the citizens and merchants to make the welcoming atmosphere.
Also, 70 members from the fifth “Seoul’s Welcome Supporter” will join the efforts to create the welcoming atmosphere. Comprising university students who are interested in activating Seoul tourism, the Seoul’s Welcome Supporter was selected in April this year to do their activities for a year to raise the citizens’ awareness of hospitality, spreading methods to welcome foreigners both online and offline.
At the Incheon International Airport and the Gimpo International Airport as well as major tourist attractions in Seoul, Welcome message boards will be installed, while interpretation service will be provided at Welcome Centers in the Hongdae and Gangnam areas especially for Chinese and Japanese tourists. Each Center also holds various online-offline events to experience Korean traditional culture, VR tour to tourist attractions, K-Beauty (Nail Art), Photo-shooting with K-Stars and Seoul Wish Tree. In the Welcome Centers in Myeongdong and Hongdae, the BTS Photo Zone will be set up and photo-printing services will be provided.
For three days from May 2 to May 4, at Cheonggye Plaza near the Gwanghwamun subway station, the welcome booths will be run by five local tourism-related companies to offer various benefits of shopping, hands-on experience, performances and exhibitions for foreign tourists.
For the past five years since 2014, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has run the Seoul Welcome Week during the period when international tourists intensively visit the capital of Korea. Some 72,600 foreign tourists among those who visited Seoul during the spring and autumn seasons last year participated in the Seoul Welcome Week events, and more than 99 percent of the respondents to the survey said they were “satisfied with the tourist information service provided during the Seoul Welcome Week.”
Director-General Yong-tae Ju of Tourism and Sports at the Seoul Metropolitan Government said, “It is important to spread the welcoming atmosphere for foreign guests at airports and major tourist attractions throughout the city. Also, the general public as well as people involved in the tourism industry and merchants should provide welcoming services to international visitors.” He also added, “In the first quarter of this year, the number of foreign visitors to Seoul has reached a record high. Taking advantage of this positive atmosphere created by the New Korean Wave, we will do our best to provide pleasant memories and time to international tourists during the Seoul Welcome Week.”