The Jakarta Post
Jeonju Hanok Village in South Korea. (Shutterstock/ e5can)
South Korea is aiming to attract more Indonesian travelers with a series of events slated to introduce the country as more than the Korean-pop (K-pop) wave that has taken over the region.
The East Asian nation hopes to see a 15 percent increase in Indonesian tourists by July next year, after seeing a 12 percent year-on-year rise in the number of visitors from the archipelago in the January-June period, according to South Korean Ambassador to Indonesia Kim Chang-beom.
To do this, the country is slated to hold the Korea Travel Fair from Aug. 31 to Sep. 2 at Kota Kasablanka mall, South Jakarta, as well as a series of performances coinciding on Aug. 31 to Sep. 1 at the Korea Themed Tourism Festival at Ciputra Artpreneur, Lotte Shopping Avenue shopping complex in Kuningan, South Jakarta.
Organized by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) Jakarta Office, the series of events aims to reveal a different side of the country.
In addition to hosting music performances, the travel fair and festival are also set to highlight traditional and culinary destinations, with local South Korean tourism organizations from Seoul, Busan and Gyeonggi also participating.
"This is another way of introducing the South Korean charms and merits of South Korean tourism to Indonesia,” Kim told a press conference in Jakarta on Monday.
The ambassador noted that the country was also welcoming more solo travelers from Indonesia in recent years.
“In the past, we’ve mostly received groups of tourists and now, more than 50 percent are tourists who travel alone," Kim said.
He added that the South Korean Embassy in Jakarta continues to advance its facilities to accelerate the visa issuing processes, noting that multiple visit visas and group tour visas are now being issued within one day.
"Hopefully, we will be able to set up our visa center early next year. That's what we are now targeting. We are trying to have more facilities to speed up visa issuances for Indonesian tourists and visitors," the ambassador said.
Read also: Jakpost guide to Korean culture in Jakarta
KTO Jakarta director Andrew Jong-hoon Kim said that more than 100,000 tourists from the archipelago visited Korea in the first half of 2018, and the figure is expected to reach the 200,000 mark by year end.
Among South Korea’s many cultural destinations, Kim suggested Jeonju in North Jeolla province, where visitors can explore the country's ancient heritage and wide range of culinary offerings.
"It's the oldest city [in South Korea] but it is near Seoul; it takes only one and half hours by KTX express train to get there," Kim said.
KTO Jakarta media and public relations manager Irma Maulida said the upcoming fair and festival are also set to highlight winter sports to coincide with the approaching end-of-year vacation.
"Korea is also a popular winter travel destination among Indonesians, so we also want to show the different types of winter sport activities that can be enjoyed," Irma said.
The fair and festival will feature performances from singer and musical theater actor Kai, also known as Jung Ki-yeol, as well as Jump, Sachoom and traditional drama musical Jeongdong Theater. (kes)