SEOUL, Dec. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea-Vietnam relations are drawing closer than ever as tourism exchanges have soared in recent months.
Vietnamese media reported on Sunday that approximately 3.16 million South Koreans have visited Vietnam this year, an increase of 46.5 percent compared to last year.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism expected more than 3.3 million South Koreans to visit Vietnam by the end of this year, making South Koreans the second largest group to visit Vietnam, following Chinese.
On the other hand, more than 427,000 Vietnamese tourists visited South Korea this year, an increase of 42 percent over last year. More than 450,000 tourists are expected to visit South Korea by the end of this year.
The robust boost in tourism between the two countries comes as Vietnam’s national men’s football team, under the guidance of South Korean head coach Park Hang-seo, has enjoyed unprecedented success at international tournaments including the AFC Championship, Asian Games and AFF Championship.
The Korean wave and South Korea’s New Southern Policy, focusing on Vietnam, also contributed to the warmer relationship between the two states.
The South Korean government recently allowed Vietnamese tourists from major cities in Vietnam to acquire multiple-entry visas, which increased the number of Vietnamese tourists visiting South Korea.
Multiple-entry visas allow holders to freely visit designated destinations for a certain period of time.
Vietnamese nationals living in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang will be able to apply for multiple-entry visas that will allow them to visit South Korea for maximum of 30 days per stay, effective for five years.
The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) released 95 tourism packages specially designed for Vietnamese tourists, in collaboration with 16 local tourist agencies in Vietnam, as part of promotional efforts for tourism in South Korea.
“Among outbound tourists in Vietnam, 30 percent are heading to South Korea, which is expected to increase thanks to South Korea’s recent decision to issue multiple-entry visas,” said a travel agency based in Hanoi.
“South Korea’s multiple-entry visas will double the number of Vietnamese tourists in South Korea,” said Jung Chang-uk, head of KTO’s Hanoi branch.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)