THE South Korean government announced that it is planning to introduce two new visa types — workcation and K-culture visas — to revitalize the dwindling tourism industry.
These new types of visas aim to entice foreign travelers to visit the country next year after it was tremendously hit by the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.
South Korea also designated the years 2023 and 2024 as “Visit Korea” years in the hopes of boosting tourism gains from the travel industry.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and related state agencies in South Korea, the administration is gearing up to implement the sixth Tourism Promotion Master Plan they produced to strengthen the country’s tourism value from 2023 to 2027.
This five-year plan intends to attract at least 30 million international tourists annually and yield $3 billion worth of tourism returns by 2027. The target figure of this program is significantly higher than the country’s pre-pandemic tourism peak in 2019 that amounted to 17.5 million visitors.
The South Korean government would need these two new visas to achieve its ambitious plan.
As mentioned in The Korean Times report, the K-culture visa’s goal is to persuade “young foreign nationals who are interested in Korean content and are willing to learn about the country’s entertainment industry and content creation system” to come to the country.
The approved applicants will be required to undergo an educational or training program in the K-content industry like the K-pop entertainment field.
On the other hand, the workcation visa will require the combination of work and vacation, where employees work remotely during an extended stay at a particular foreign location.
Also dubbed as the digital nomad visa, it will allow foreign travelers to stay in Korea while performing work-related activities and tasks.
Once implemented, foreign tourists who hold this visa will be able to stay in the country for a maximum period of two years and explore the Korean culture, lifestyle, and practices.
According to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), the K-culture visa will be introduced during the first half of 2023 and the workcation visa during the second half.
Aside from the implementation of the new visa types, the KTO also aims to improve and develop Korea’s e-travel authorization system to ease the experience of travelers entering and leaving the country.
The Korean government also plans to ease the hotel and tourism industry’s foreign employment and international students’ working hours regulations.
Through this, the number of openings for foreign hotel workers with an E-7 visa will increase from the existing level of two to five people.
The D-2 visa foreign nationals who are studying for a bachelor’s degree in Korea will be allowed to work a maximum of 30 hours per week, which will double their existing weekly limitation.
With the South Korean government’s plan to reinvigorate the tourism industry, foreign nationals will be given more opportunities to work and study in the country and participate in its tourism, entertainment, and other industries.
Banner courtesy: Yonhap News Agency