Hallyu stars Lee Byung-heon, Bae Yong-jun, Song Seung-heon and Kim Rae-won have contributed greatly to boosting the country’s tourism industry.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism says that the number of Japanese tourists in the first half of the year dropped 4.5 percent due to the weakened Japanese currency, but has been on the rise in the second half of the year following the comebacks of several top hallyu stars.
Forty-five buses carrying Japanese tourists were lined up at an army checkpoint on November 15 when actor Song Seung-heon was discharged from the military, as some 700 Japanese fans visited Korea to see Song. On Nobember 18 and 19, some 5000 Japanese fans attended Song’s fan meetings in Seoul.
Actor Kim Rae-won held a special premiere of his upcoming movie “Sunflower” and a fan meeting for some 400 Japanese fans November 20 in downtown Seoul.
Some 2000 foreign fans flocked to the special premiere of a new movie starring Lee Byung-heon on November 21.
More than 5000 Japanese tourists are expected to visit Jeju Island November 29 to attend the opening ceremony of the Hallyu Expo, which will run through March next year.
The number of Japanese tourists who have visited or will visit Korea to see Song Seung-heon, Lee Byung-heon, Kim Rae-won and Bae Yong-jun has surpassed 13,000 this year, more than half of the 21,000 Japanese tourists recorded in November last year.
Hallyu stars are thus playing a pivotal role in attracting foreign tourists to Korea, helping the struggling tourism industry to stay afloat.