The number of South Korean tourists arriving in Taiwan increased by 13 percent this year from last year, after the Tourism Bureau ramped up its promotion of Taiwan as a tourist destination in South Korea.
This year, the bureau has invited Korean actor Jo Jung-suk and Taiwanese actress Ivy Chen (陳意涵) to become its representatives in the hope of drawing South Korean visitors, mainly targeting women and the potential market of independent travelers.
A short film featuring both Jo and Chen successfully brought more South Korean visitors to Taiwan this year, totaling 169,186 visitors in the first seven months of this year, the bureau said.
Of that number, 107,427 came to Taiwan as tourists, up nearly 20 percent year-on-year.
The growth in South Korean visits to Taiwan outpaced the country’s overall outbound traveler growth of 9.4 percent.
It was expecting the number of South Korean visitors to exceed 270,000 by the end of the year, the bureau said.
The number of tourists the short film had brought to Taiwan exceeded the number of tourists that the bureau representatives in 2006 to 2008, popular boy band F4, had drawn, including 550,000 Japanese tourists and 150,000 South Korean tourists in the first half of 2008, the bureau said.
F4 made their name after shooting the Taiwanese TV drama series Meteor Garden (流星花園) 12 years ago.
However, the bureau said that the increase did not show that Korean stars are more charismatic than F4, because they featured in Taiwan tourism advertisements during different economic times.
The bureau’s promotion plans have been more successful than expected, bureau officials added.
Bureau officials said that the South Korean variety show Flower H4 had also visited Taiwan in July to shoot some scenes, visiting Tamsui (淡水), Taroko Gorge, Taipei 101 and the National Palace Museum.
The first episode of the show aired in South Korea by Total Variety Network on Aug. 23 topped the view ratings at 9.8 percent, the bureau said, adding that the second episode would feature Sunny, a member of the popular Girls’ Generation pop group.
Many South Korean travel agencies already offer tour packages to Taiwan, bureau officials added.