Five cities including Busan, Gangneung in Gangwon Province, Jeonju in North Jeolla Province, Mokpo in South Jeolla Province and Andong in North Gyeongsang Province have been chosen as tourism hubs, which will receive government subsidies to attract more foreign tourists. Culture, Sports, and Tourism Minister Park Yang-woo said on Tuesday that the government needs to develop new regional tourism hubs to attract more foreign tourists since about 80% of foreign tourists flock to only Seoul when they visit Korea.
Busan has been chosen as an international tourism city while the four cities have been picked as regional tourism hubs. The government will inject a total of 15.9 billion won for the project this year: Busan will receive 4.3 billion won while four other cities will get 2.15 billion won each and the rest 3 billion won will be used for promotion and consulting. Each city will receive 50 billion won for five years until 2024. “Those cities could receive more than 70 billion won depending on their business plans,” said Jo Hyun-rae, director general of the Tourism Industry Policy Bureau under the ministry.
The cities will be evaluated based on how well they utilize the existing tourism infrastructure rather than building new facilities. Busan has been praised for having good tourism infrastructure and great development potential. The city is planning to hold festivals and historical and cultural events, using its geographical advantage of being surrounded by sea. Gangneung utilized its image as a host city of the Pyeongchang Olympic Games and presented plans to establish tourism information system that links regional airports to various places in Gangwon Province. Jeonju highlighted its Hanok Village and laid out its plans to create tourism packages in partnership with the local government. Mokpo introduced plans to promote tourism by using modern history, food, and islands. Andong said it will create cultural experience programs for tourists based on the Confucian culture.
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