tourism koreaTOURISM in South Korea is picking up again after it copped a blow in 2015 from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus. The outbreak saw almost 200 people infected across South Korea with a death toll of 36.

According to Korea Tourism Organization’s (KTO) international visitor arrival statistics, there was a 6.8% year on year decrease in tourist numbers over 2015 which dropped from 14,201,516 in 2014 to 13,231,651 in 2015.

Unofficial figures, which KTO is still confirming are showing a 21% increase in Australian visitors to Korea in March this year when compared to March 2015.

This year also marks the start of Visit Korea Committee’s (VKC) ‘2016-2018 Visit Korea Year’ campaign offering benefits for travellers over the next three years in a bid to boost tourism.

The VKC said is aiming to attract 20 million foreign tourists to the country every year through food, hospitality and cultural programs such as K-Food, K-Stay and K-Culture.

“The year 2016-2018 will be a turning point for Korea to become an economy with advanced tourism infrastructure,” Visit Korea Committee chairman Park Sam-koo explains.

One of the latest initiatives of the program is a K-Travel bus, a free bus travel package for foreign tourists between Seoul and local provinces.

The 2016-2018 Visit Korea Year committee together with the Korea Tourism Organization will visit Sydney and Auckland for tourism roadshow events on 7 June in Sydney and 9 June in Auckland.

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