Seoul City eyes world's No. 5 tourist attraction by 2018
Seoul City said Friday it plans to diversify its tourism programs and boost infrastructure investment as part of its efforts to become the world's fifth most-visited city by 2018.
Under a five-year plan, the South Korean capital city aims to attract 20 million visitors a year by 2018. In 2012, more than 10 million foreigners visited Seoul, making it the world's 11th most-visited city, according to government data.
"More efforts will be made to transform the city into a perfect model place for both tourism and business so as to contribute to economic growth and job creation," Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said as he unveiled the ambitious plan.
The blueprint calls for creating a total of 77,600 affordable accommodations for tourists and building diverse transportation facilities such as hot-air balloons and amphibious vehicles.
As part of its efforts to prevent and make up damage foreign visitors often suffer due to overcharges, the city plans to introduce a compensation program. Once a complaint is received, officials will check the fact before offering financial compensation.
The fund for the program will be raised by the city's tourism associations, city officials said.
To boost visitors' convenience, the city plans to expand its online foreign language services. By 2018, the information service will be available in 10 different languages, they said.
Efforts to offer diverse tourism programs will be made as well, with the city government set to designate and develop a total of 25 regions in the city with their own characteristics.
The city also plans to join hands with local residents and even foreigners to discover things to enjoy together and to provide 24 different kinds of special tourism courses by 2018.
In addition, the city plans to expand its infrastructure to host more international conventions, which numbered 250 last year.
The city's capacity to host such international conventions would be expanded three times, officials said.
More financial support will also be available for public and private entities that bring such events to Seoul, the city government said. (Yonhap News)