Sara Thopson - Jul 1, 2024
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South Korea seeks to boost its tourism by leveraging its popular K-pop music. The success of K-pop has attracted thousands of fans from Southeast Asia, the United States, and Europe to visit the locations where music videos are filmed and to study the language.

There has been an increase in requests from young foreigners (aged 14 to 17) for language stays in Seoul since the end of the lockdown. Some organizations, like the Go&Live group (Nacel and the Club Langues et Civilisations), now offer language course packages that include K-pop dance classes.

New Visa for K-Culture Fans

In mid-June, the South Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance announced a visa pilot program offering unique professional and personal growth opportunities. The program is intended for foreigners who want to do internships and practice dance, choreography, and modeling specific to K-pop in South Korea.

The details of this program, called the "K-Culture Training Visa," and its launch date are currently shrouded in anticipation, adding to the excitement. They will be revealed later in the year. Candidates will not need an official internship invitation or go through a talent agency to obtain this visa.

What Visas to Go to South Korea?

Most Europeans can currently travel to South Korea for tourist stays of less than 90 days without a visa, but they must complete a K-ETA online in advance or fill out an arrival card upon entering the country. All student visa procedures are done online through the South Korea Visa Center's (KVAC) website. The fee for the visa amounts to €126, and an appointment is required at the immigration authority upon arrival to obtain a residence permit. It's important to note that embassies do not manage these documents but a visa center specific to Europe.

Revitalize Tourism

The Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has reported that K-pop is why people visit South Korea. K-culture, including K-food and K-dramas, is incredibly popular and has sparked a phenomenon known as "Hallyu," or the "Korean wave." This cultural wave could help boost tourism as the country aims to recover from the impact of COVID-19. In 2023, the country welcomed 11 million visitors, compared to 17.5 million in 2019.

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