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By Lee Hyo-sik ,
Foreign visitors to reach 8.8 million
South Korea has emerged as one of the world’s major tourist destinations this year, at least among Chinese, Japanese and other Asian visitors, on the back of a weak Korean won against other currencies and the growing popularity of Korean pop culture in the region.
Throughout the year, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), the Visit Korea Committee and other state-run tourism promotion agencies, as well as municipal administrations have made all-out efforts to attract as many foreign tourists as possible to earn hard currency, create jobs and improve its international profile.
Their endeavors have paid off as substantially higher numbers of foreigners have flooded popular tourist spots in and out of Seoul and spent billions of dollars to buy luxury brand goods, souvenirs and other Korean products.
Korea plans to promote itself as an attractive shopping spot and offer a wide range of incentives, especially targeting foreign patients who come here to receive medical treatment and other healthcare-related services.