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[Editorial] Every Overseas Tourist Represents Korea

Posted July. 06, 2005 00:37,   


For an amount between 500,000 to one million won, one can spend four nights of summer vacation at one of the popular resorts in Southeast Asia. Last year, 8.83 million Koreans left the country, and 53 percent of them did so for sightseeing. This year with the won strengthening and the five-day work week implemented, the number of those traveling abroad is expected to exceed 10 million.

The growing number of Koreans traveling overseas means that the local people in those destinations have more opportunities to meet Koreans. They are likely to judge Korea by the Koreans they meet. If they are given negative impressions, the brand image of the nation deteriorates, and consequently individuals as well as the entire country will be put at a disadvantage. The national image is a country’s competitiveness.

However, recently some Korean overseas tourists have displayed disgraceful behavior, which have stirred complaints among the local residents. One Korean beat his caddie at the golf course, another seriously mistreated a waitress at a pub, and others scrambled to buy illegally hunted wild animals and other grotesque food which are rumored to beneficial for one’s health. These people degrade the image of Korea.

A few months ago, some Koreans were fined and kicked out of Vietnam after being nabbed for illegal sex trading. In an island in the South Pacific, sex trade by Korean men is reportedly emerging as a social problem. We need to remind ourselves what we thought in the past of the Japanese tourists who came to Korea on sex tours.

Tourists can still have a good time abroad without being reproached by local people. We need to upgrade our prodigal and wasteful overseas traveling culture to a reinvigorating one such as traveling with family, visiting historical sites, or appreciating the beautiful nature. In addition, tourists should respect the culture and laws of the destination country for however short they plan to stay there. Not only tourists but also Korean businessmen in other countries should comply with the regulations and etiquette of the nation and respect the local residents.

In overseas countries, every Korean represents their country. If Korea wants to join the ranks of the advanced countries, we need to behave accordingly so that we can take pride in ourselves.