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Gov't seeks to expand tourism services using smart tour card

All Headlines 12:42 April 05, 2017

By Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, April. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's smart fare card for foreigners will be a great tool to offer more tailored support for visitors, the government said Wednesday, as the local tourism industry grapples with the fallout caused by a diplomatic dispute with China.

Korea Tour Card, jointly developed by the government and Korea Smart Card Co., has enjoyed a good reception from foreign travelers since it first went on sale in late January, with the sales tally reaching a little over 10,000 as of early April, according to the Visit Korea Committee, an affiliated body of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The rechargeable transportation card is available at vending machines located inside the Seoul Metro (Line No. 1-4), the Airport Railroad Express and convenience stores in Incheon International Airport for 4,000 won (US$3.56).

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Upon its successful launch, the government plans to use the travel data collected from the transportation card going forward to come up with a wider range of tour programs for inbound visitors with diverse cultural backgrounds and tastes, the committee said.

"We plan to analyze the data so we can develop new tour courses for people from diverse places like Muslims, for example, and make meaningful recommendations for Southeast Asian tourists," Park Hye-jung, an official at the Visit Korea Committee, said by phone. "It can be a good platform that can help fuel the tourism sector."

Currently, the committee has clinched partnerships with some 25 companies -- mostly in shopping and entertainment fields -- so as to offer discounts and other benefits to the special card holders.

The committee said it is planning to expand partnerships to other businesses, particularly those related to art and culture, so that foreigners can be given more choices while they tour the country. The discount offer for art and culture venues is serviced only at two museums in Seoul at the moment.

It will work to provide more benefits and services to lure foreigners to travel to provincial areas in the country, which will in effect help revitalize the regional economies, the committee added.

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