The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said it would aggressively promote the use of Korea Pass Cards during the “Korea Grand Sale,” which kicked off Monday at major department stores and shopping malls and runs through Feb. 28.
Korea Pass Cards, consisting of pre-paid cards and check cards for non-Koreans and credit cards and check cards for Korean nationals, can be used on subways, buses and taxis. They also offer 5-10 percent discount benefits at major shopping stores, tourist sites, museums, theaters and restaurants in Seoul.
A foreign visitor receives hotel accommodation vouchers and cultural performance tickets through a lottery at Incheon International Airport on Monday. The seven-day event is part of the shopping festival “Korea Grand Sale” which runs through Feb. 28. (Yonhap News)
The ministry launched the tourism cards, in cooperation with Lotte Card and the Korea Tourism Organization, on Dec. 20.
The stores and companies that offer related discounts include musical Miso at Chongdong Theater, Lotte Mart, Angel-in-us Coffee, Lotte Duty Free, T.G.I. Friday’s and TomaTillo.
Korea Pass pre-paid cards are available in denominations of 50,000 won, 100,000 won, 300,000 won and 500,000 won at airports, Lotte Mart and Seven-Eleven. For easier purchase of the cards, the ministry plans to establish online card sale at www.koreapass.or.kr in the near future.
The remaining credit can be claimed back at airports, Seven-Eleven stores and at VAT refund service provider Tax Free Korea in Dongdaemun Doota shopping mall and the President Hotel.
During the “Korea Grand Sale” event, foreign tourists will be able to enjoy shopping, dining, hotel accommodation and cultural shows at 14,000 shops and stores across the nation, either at cheaper prices or with free souvenirs.
The participating retailers include the “Big 20” major department stores such as Lotte, Shinsegae, Hyundai and Galleria, discount outlets such as E-Mart, Lotte Mart and duty free shops including Donghwa, Walkerhill and Shilla.
“The Culture Ministry aims to boost the number of foreign visitors to Korea to 10 million in 2011, and Korea Grand Sale and Korea Pass Cards are expected to play a very significant role in achieving that goal,” said Culture Minister Yu In-chon.
“I plan to discuss making Korea Pass Cards available in Japan and China when I attend the culture minister’s meeting with them on Jan. 18-19.”
The ministry also promotes Korea Pass Cards to locals. Korean nationals who purchase “My Country First Travel Event” travel package tickets on the Korea Tourism Organization website (korean.visitkorea.or.kr) through Korea Pass Cards will get additional discounts, the ministry said.
Korea Pass cards, available only in Seoul now, will be also available in Busan at the end of January.
By Kim Yoon-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)