Travelers transiting through South Korean regional airports to reach their destination country, can now remain in these airports without any visas, for a maximal period of three days.
The East Asian country has announced a new package of policy measures, which among others includes the expansion of the visa-free entry and stay program, in a bid to help the country’s growing tourism to trickle down to smaller regional provinces.
The package was announced by South Koreans Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon during a meeting on December 12, attended by the culture health and transportation ministers. Vice ministers from the finance, education, foreign affairs, justice, and agriculture ministries were also present, as well as officials from tourism-related government bodies.
“Regional (cities) are grappling with shrinking economies stemming from decreasing and aging populations … the very promising solution to that would be (promoting) tourism,” the Primer said during the Thursday meeting.
To make it possible, the government will open new flight routes linking South Korea’s regional airports to countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
The policy is supposed to take effect as soon as in 2020.
Throughout the meeting, another policy related to travelers was introduced, which is a new visa program with Southeast Asian countries, which foresees permitting youngsters from the region to move to South Korea for up to one year for regional tours and language studies.
“(South Korea) plans to sign a treaty with ASEAN to allow young people from the region to enjoy regional tours and language studies while staying in South Korea up to one year,” a government press release explains.
The new measures are being introduced as the number of foreign travelers to South Korea is estimated to have reached 17.4 million, up from 15.4 million in 2018, and the government is hoping that the flourishing tourism in the country could trickle down to smaller cities and counties.
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