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Busan is named the country’s international tourism city

Jan 30,2020
An aerial view of the coastline running from Gwangalli, left, to Haeundae, right, where many tall buildings are being built. The Gwangan Bridge in the center has also caught the eye of many for being built across the South Sea. [BUSAN CITY GOVERNMENT]
The Korean government designated Busan as the country’s international tourism city to make the harbor city more appealing to international visitors. The move to provide an up to 50 billion won ($42 million) budget over the next five years comes from the idea that the country needs to make cities other than its capital Seoul popular. Most of the 17.5 million international visitors in 2019 focused on visiting spots in Seoul, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Busan was chosen for its potential to grow. The Culture Ministry decided that it has the most tourism-related infrastructure already set to further grow as a gateway of the country. The city, which has made its Haeundae Beach one of the popular beaches in Korea, earned more points for its geographical benefits.

This year, the Culture Ministry will provide a total of 15.9 billion won to the city and will confirm more details on the size of the budget over the next five years, as well as what projects to fund, soon. Among the 15.9 billion won set aside for this year, Busan will take 4.3 billion. Another 8.6 billion won will go to four other cities chosen to be developed into regional tourism hubs. The other four cities include Andong in North Gyeongsang, Mokpo in South Jeolla, Jeonju in North Jeolla and Gangneung in Gangwon.

Another 3 billion won will be used to promote these five cities to the people around the globe and pay experts who will consult the cities on how to attract more tourists.

“The Culture Ministry will do more than just injecting money into making the designated cities become globally known travel destinations,” said Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Yang-woo, adding that it will consult on the overall progress of the project so that these cities can lead to making the country more popular among travelers overseas.

It plans to give five years to make thorough plans because it may take some time for travelers overseas to hear about how Korea is developing these cities. The government will check how easy it is to get to these cities from international airports given that many transfer to another means of public transportation to get to the city they want to visit. Besides checking on infrastructure like public transportation and places for overnight stays, the ministry will also develop unique experience programs using already existing facilities to make more informative and fun opportunities for visitors to enjoy in these cities.

BY LEE SUN-MIN [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]