South Korea to introduce new K-culture training, workation visas

South Korea to introduce new K-culture training, workation visas
Photo credit: Yonhap

South Korea will begin issuing the K-culture training visa for foreigners on a trial basis this year and consider introducing a new workation visa, with the goal of attracting more tourists from overseas, the finance ministry said Monday, Yonhap reports.

It is part of the comprehensive measures presented by the ministry, which also calls for simplifying entry procedures and devising various tour programs so as to better meet their needs and boost their conveniences.

According to the plan, the government will launch the so-called K-culture training visa for foreigners on a trial basis starting this year, which will be available for people who want to come here to take part in training programs on K-pop, choreography and other cultural sectors.

It will also consider the expansion of a digital nomad visa, where foreigners can work remotely while traveling in South Korea.

The one-year test operation of the workation visa has been implemented since January, and the government is mulling options to diversify its requirements in cooperation with regional governments so as to give foreigners more incentives and various options regarding their stay both for work and tours in specific regions in South Korea.

The government will also expand infrastructure on visa issuance and other entry procedures to enhance the convenience of foreign tourists.

It will ease regulations on the group tourists' application for K-ETA, or an electronic travel authorization that visa-free foreign visitors need to obtain before entering the country.

More unmanned immigration checkpoints will be installed at major ports to shorten the time required to screen visitors on cruise ships and the operation of passenger terminals will be extended so as to help them stay here longer.

The country will open new flight routes linking the South Korean southern port city of Busan and Jakarta, as well as the central South Korean city of Cheongju and Bali.

More flights will also be added to the Daegu-Ulaanbaatar route this year, according to the ministry.

"We will come up with various tour programs focusing on foreigners' hands-on experiences and extend luggage handling services," a ministry official said.

"We will also enhance the monitoring of and crack down on unfair activities by merchants, such as scams targeting tourists, at major tourist attractions and regional festivals," he added.

The number of foreign visitors here has been recovering, coming to 11.03 million last year from 97,000 in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, the figure came to 17.5 million people.

But the country's revenue from them remained low as more visitors preferred individual tours over group programs, and they tended to spend less on shopping than cultural experiences, the ministry said.

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