Seoul promises fireworks, hot air balloon rides to lure tourists

A photo of the Seoul International Fireworks Festival held at Yeouido Hangang Park in western Seoul on October 6, 2018 [NEWS1]

Fireworks in the sky over the Han River will be more common, a new drone light show will be created, and hot air balloon rides over Seoul are coming.

These are part of Seoul’s ambition to attract 30 million tourists a year.

Some 13.9 million foreign tourists visited in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic, and in line with the lifting of quarantine rules, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced a tourism master plan on Thursday that aims to attract 28 million by 2026. The ultimate goal is 30 million per year.

Seoul relies on its natural resources, including the Han River, major mountain trails, and its nighttime skyline to go around.

The capital will hold fireworks more often by integrating them with other major events such as the Seoul Festa. He will encourage hiking courses on the Bugak, Inwang and Bukhan mountains. A hot air balloon ride will be created for panoramic night views of the city. Night bike tours will be offered around the Blue House and the revamped Gwanghwamun Square.

Support for the MICE sector (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions) with high added value will be reinforced. The city aims to develop its own unique events as the Consumer Electronics Show is associated with Las Vegas and Mobile World Congress Barcelona.

The plan also proposes to create a smart environment for the comfort of foreign tourists. In cooperation with tech startups, Seoul will develop a platform that facilitates processes such as reservations, payments and transportation for traveling in the megacity. Next year, the city plans to offer personalized tourism services and a digital management environment through the “Seoul Tourism Knowledge Information System.”

A new qualitative index to assess tourism in Seoul will be established by next year with the aim of achieving “equitable tourism” to help the travel industry, tourists and local residents coexist. The city will regularize controls to eliminate poor quality tourist products.

“The recent recognition of Hallyu content through online media has been an opportunity to promote Korea and Seoul to the world,” said Choi Kyung-ju, director general of the Metropolitan Government’s Tourism and Sports Bureau. Seoul.

“With such interest, we will enthusiastically promote plans to revitalize Seoul’s tourism and make the city one of the top five cities in the world.”

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun1@joongang.co.kr]