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Improved Tourism Policies for 2012 Updated: 2012-02-15 00:00:00 KST

We visited a homestay house that provides lodging for Chinese and Taiwanese tourists.

Homestays for foreign visitors are usually provided in apartment buildings or individual houses.

To reduce any inconveniences that may arise due to run-down facilities or language barriers, local governments have stepped in to take care of homestay houses themselves.

This homestay hostess is from Taiwan herself, so her guests feel like they're visiting a friend.

[Interview : Ra Bun-hwang, Hostess] "It's been 20 years since I came to Korea to get married. I don't have any children,
so I decided to offer homestay arrangements to tourists. I've been doing this for some 2 years. It's great that as a homestay hostess, I can meet other Taiwanese people in Korea."

[Interview : Own Chen, Tourist
Taiwan] "I personally like staying with Korean families, because I can feel at home. I find hotels and other tourist accommodations to be commercial and inconvenient, whereas a homestay is very comfortable. That's why I prefer the latter."

It may not offer 5 star hotel services, but a homestay holds its own merits for tourists.

[Interview : Shery Chen, Tourist
Taiwan] "My hostess is like a mother to me, and the other guests also feel like family.
At night we get together to chat and share various information comfortably. Usually when I travel, I only visit the obvious sites that are frequented by tourists. But my hostess took me to even more exciting places, which I loved."

They can even discover Korea's hidden charms that do not appear in guide books.

This group of tourists are visiting a temple with their hostess as their guide.

Most temples in Korea are located in mountains, so this temple became famous partly for being in the heart of the city.

[Interview : Melody Wang, Tourist
Taiwan] "This is my fourth visit to Korea. Before, I only went to well-known places like Gyeongbok Palace or Cheong Wa Dae. It's quite amazing that there was a temple near my homestay house that I could visit. It's a novel experience, which I like. It's great to visit a temple located in the middle of Seoul and to learn about how it's different from the ones in Taiwan."

Trying out new food is an indispensable part of travelling in a foreign country. Eating at restaurants frequented by locals, instead of going to well-known places, is a whole new experience.
All this is possible when tourists choose homestays.

[Interview : Shery Chen, Tourist
Taiwan] "While staying in Korea for a few days, I was impressed by the accessibility of
tourist information. I came with my parents, and it was convenient that we could go into
a tourist information center to rest and get some information. This is what I liked most about my stay in Korea."

Starting from 2012, a special service for tourists is being provided at Incheon International Airport. One service that all foreigners visiting Korea use is the tax refund service.

The complicated procedure involved in receiving tax refunds before leaving the country has become much simpler and even more convenient in 2012.

[Interview : Park Hyeong-cheol, Customs officer
Incheon Airport Customs] "About 40 countries around the world have the tax refund system in place. Starting
from 2012, Korea has introduced an electronic version of the system. Foreign tourists visiting Korea had to keep the receipts of their purchases during their stay and show them at the airport before they left the country. The electronic tax refund system provided by the customs allows them to get their refunds more conveniently."

Tourists no longer need to hold onto the refund forms for each of their purchases until departure time.

[Interview : Nam Chan-wu, Deputy director
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism] "The government, together with the city of Seoul, has been improving various policies and providing public building sites. Also, we believe that the most effective way to help foreigners experience Korea's culture is to have them sleep and eat at Korean homes. Through the implementation and promotion of related measures, we expect to see more services that will appeal to various tourists with these needs."


It's not too late to plan out the year to include a trip to Korea.
And for those of you who are conscious of your budget the exchange rate is still quite favorable for foreign currencies.
Yeah the Korean won is still not back to levels before the financial crisis so if you go shopping here it's like you're getting a built in sale of 10 to 20 percent.
I think if you come to Korea you're just destined to have fun.
And it's the last year of the campaign so make sure you get here soon. Okay stay with us we'll be right back.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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