May 24, 2024
Visitors walk inside Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul on May 6. [YONHAP]

Visitors walk inside Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul on May 6. [YONHAP]

The Korean government is inviting K-culture lovers to truly experience the country’s culture in person as part of the government’s “2024 Visit Korea Year” campaign.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism launched a tour event, dubbed “KOREA invites U,” in collaboration with the Korea Tourism Organization to invite overseas foreigners who are interested in Korean culture or have special ties with the country.  
The Culture Ministry selected 32 teams with around 50 participants, who are “true fans” of Korea, to participate in the event and tour the country for five days from May 20 to 24.  
Participants were selected through story contests and a recommendation process operated by the Korea Tourism Organization’s overseas branches.   
A total of 77,224 stories from 185 countries worldwide were submitted during the month-long submission period from March 19 to April 19, according to the Culture Ministry.
The organizers, through a four-step evaluation process, selected individuals who shared various stories about Korea.
Some of these stories included how the individual overcame personal struggles through practicing taekwondo or how they became interested in Korean drama, culture, history and language and went on to study Korean courses at university as late bloomers.
Participants will arrive in Korea on May 20 and start their tour in Seoul on May 21.
After experiencing the main tourist spots in Seoul on a city tour bus, they are scheduled to attend a welcoming event and an exchange meeting at Samcheonggak, a mountainside restaurant that serves traditional Korean food in Seongbuk District, central Seoul.  
The event will also provide a session for participants to learn K-pop choreography at 1Million Dance Studio, a renowned dance academy run by dancer Lia Kim, considering the participants’ high interest in K-pop.
They will also experience chimaek, a Korean portmanteau combining the words chicken and maekju, or beer, at Kyochon Pilbang, a fried chicken omakase restaurant operated by Kyochon Chicken in Itaewon, central Seoul.  
The ministry also planned a customized tour program based on participants’ preferences and characteristics for April 22 and 23.  
The participants will be divided into five groups and travel in areas such as Seoul, Busan and Jeonju, for sightseeing and experiencing Korean food.  
The tour event will be produced into a special TV program and is set to air on KBS World, according to the ministry.  
“There are a lot of foreigners who love Korea and have various stories regarding their interest in K-pop, drama, sports, traditional culture and the Korean language,” Park Jong-taek, director-general of the ministry’s Tourism Policy Bureau, said. “Through this event, we hope that participants become civilian public ambassadors to spread the word about Korea’s charms after experiencing Korean culture and tourism in person.”
“The Culture Ministry will continue to hold various events, such as the Korea Beauty Festival in June and Korea Travel Festival in October, to raise the attractiveness of Korean tourism, marking the second year of the Visit Korea Year [2023-2024 campaign].”

BY KIM JI-YE [[email protected]]


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