South Korea unveils new measures to attract foreign tourists

SEOUL, July 15, 2010 (AFP) – South Korea Thursday unveiled new measures such as development of ecological attractions to attract more foreign tourists, especially from China. Six new quays for cruise ships will be created on the southern resort island of Jeju and in the western port city of Incheon and other coastal towns, the tourism ministry said.

The government will establish some 1,500 kilometres (932 miles) of eco-friendly trails with state money, it said.

South Korea aims to attract 12 million foreign tourists annually by 2014, compared with 7.8 million last year, the ministry said.

It said visa restrictions for Chinese low- and mid-budget tourists would be eased and all tourist signs would feature the Chinese and Japanese languages.

“Our government expects these measures will help attract Chinese tourists preemptively, as they are emerging as the major customer of the world’s tourism market,” Tourism minister Yu In-Chon told reporters.

South Korea has seen a steep increase in Chinese tourists in recent years. Some 1.46 million Japanese tourists came during the first half of this year, down four percent from the same period last year, while Chin