South Korea to facilitate entry to travelers from 22 countries
Seoul, Mar 29 (EFE).- South Korea announced Wednesday it would exempt tourists from 22 countries, including the United States and Japan, from presenting a mandatory travel permit to visit the country, among other measures aimed at promoting tourism.
The country has set the goal of attracting 10 million foreign visitors this year, with a view to revitalizing domestic consumption and the national economy, which has been weighed down by the pandemic and the global slowdown.
The number of foreign tourists reached a record 17.5 million in 2019, generating related revenue estimated at $20.7 billion, according to the Korea Tourism Organization.
However, the influx of visitors plummeted in 2020 due to the pandemic and picked up slightly in 2021 and 2022 to reach 3.19 million in 2022.
South Korea currently requires an electronic travel authorization called K-ETA that can be applied for online for travelers from 110 countries on the tourist visa-exempt list.
Starting from next year, South Korean authorities will allow tourists from 22 of those countries to enter without such permit.
Seoul also plans to reapply visa waivers for transit passengers from 34 countries, including all members of the European Union and the US, allowing them to stay for up to 30 days.
Entry conditions for groups of travelers from China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia will also be eased, and international flights will increase to pre-pandemic levels.
Flights from China will increase from the current 63 per week to 954 for September, while those from Japan, currently at 863 per week, will increase to 1,004. These two countries have brought the most tourists to South Korea in recent years.
Other measures announced to boost internal tourism include discount and subsidy programs for domestic travelers. EFE