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Vietnamese Tourists to Korea on the Rise

2009/04/16 | 106 views | Permalink | Source

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Korea is seeing a surge of tourists from Vietnam as the Korean Wave, or craze for Korean pop culture, is hitting the Asian country.

The internet edition of the Tuoi Tre, Vietnam's major daily, reported on April 13--citing an official at state-run travel agency Saigon Tourist--that in April alone the number of people who booked tour programs to Korea increased 300 percent year-on-year to 500 despite the economic recession.

The official attributed the increase to the Korean Wave boom led by entertainment and show programs. Korean dramas including "Winter Sonata" have dominated Vietnamese TV, and Korean singers such as TVXQ and Rain are still popular there.

Another reason is that travel agencies and airlines have offered discounted tour packages targeting the affluent. The price of a six-night-seven-day Korea tour program departing from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh dropped from 1,600 dollars to 911 dollars, and a four-night-five-day program from 1,000 dollars to 600 dollars.

A staffer at Saigon Tourist also said that Korean travel agencies are asking the country's Foreign Ministry to simplify visa application procedure and hiring Vietnamese guides to attract more tourists from Vietnam.

According to the report, last year some 18,000 Vietnamese visited Korea, while 20,000 Koreans went to Vietnam.

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