Wed, Dec 12, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Direct flights give boost to South Korean tourism

GOLDEN WINGS:The rise in South Korean visitors is due to the increased ease of travel and the Tourism Bureau aims to sustain the momentum with several PR initiatives

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Direct flights between Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) and South Korea’s Gimpo International Airport have boosted the number of South Korean visitors to Taiwan, with the number of visitors increasing 5.19 percent compared with the same period last year.

Direct flights between the airports were launched in April as part of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) vision for a “Northeast Asia golden aviation circle.” Aside from Gimpo, the circle includes direct flights from Taipei to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport as well as to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

Statistics from the Tourism Bureau show that the number of South Korean tourists in the period from January to October totaled 200,839. The number in October alone reached 20,625, reflecting year-on-year growth of 16.69 percent.

To expand South Korean tourism to Taiwan, the bureau collaborated with travel agents, carriers and theme park operators in South Korea to help bring 10 single mothers and their children to Taiwan for a three-day tour yesterday.

Cheng Yi-ping (鄭憶萍), the section chief at the bureau’s international travel division, said a direct flight from Seoul to Taipei takes about two-and-a-half hours, making it easy for young couples or small families to undertake a three-day tour of Taiwan.

The bureau provided the NT$100,000 needed to finance the trip for the group, many of whom had never been to Taiwan, Cheng said.

The three-day tour will take the South Korean visitors to tourist attractions in Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市), including Taipei 101, the National Palace Museum, night markets, Jiufen (九份) and the Yehliu Geopark, she said.

Each child in the group will receive a small Christmas gift and be treated to a welcome dinner and a magic show, Cheng said.

Aside from family tours, Cheng said the bureau is planning to target young female South Korean visitors in its promotional campaign next year.

The bureau has also produced a mini-film about Taiwan to be broadcast in South Korea featuring Taiwanese actress Ivy Chen (陳意涵) and South Korean actor Jo Jung-suk.

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