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Nami Island visited by 7 pct of foreign tourists in S. Korea

All News 10:18 June 13, 2016

GANGNEUNG, South Korea, June 13 (Yonhap) -- Nami Island, a major filming location of the 2002 hit Korean TV series "Winter Sonata," has secured its place as a key tourist destination visited by 7 percent of foreign tourists coming to South Korea, a report showed Monday.

A total of 265,000 foreigners visited the island on the Han River, some 90 kilometers east of Seoul, in the first quarter of this year, up 10.2 percent from 241,000 during the same period last year, the report by the Gangwon regional branch of the Bank of Korea said.

The small half-moon shaped island located in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, was visited by 13.89 million foreign travelers who came to South Korea last year.

In particular, more than 30 percent of visitors from Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia visited the spot.

The report attributed the island's popularity to its unique natural environment and the long-lasting influence of the "Winter Sonata" TV drama that aired in early 2002.

It forecast that more and more foreign tourists will travel to Gangwon Province thanks to the sensational popularity of the recently ended military-romance drama series "Descendants of the Sun."

With a growing interest in the drama's filming locations in Taebaek and Jeongseon, both in the province, accessibility to the region has greatly improved with the release of a tour package program and the resumption of the air route linking the nearby city of Yangyang and China's Shanghai.

The drama starring Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo enjoyed a sensational run from Feb. 24 to April 14 simultaneously on South Korean terrestrial television network KBS 2TV and Chinese broadcasting and video sharing platform iQiyi.

The series concluded with a viewer rating of 38.8 percent, which is rare for a weeknight show, narrowly missing the highly anticipated 40-percent milestone.

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