x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

South Korean tourists targeted by capital

Abu Dhabi plans to launch its official tourism site in Korean as number of South Koreans visiting the capital surge.

Abu Dhabi is targeting tourists from South Korea after the number of visitors from the country doubled in the first four months of this year.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) is launching a Korean version of its consumer website following a rise of more than 100 per cent in the number of visitors from South Korea between January and last month, compared with the same period last year.

Increased business between the Emirates and South Korea and the launch of Etihad Airways' flights to the Asian country in December are among factors behind the increase.

"Growing UAE-South Korean business links are seen to be fuelling a demand which the industry now wants to build," said Mubarak al Nuaimi, the international promotions manager for ADTA.

In the first four months of this year, 2,839 South Koreans stayed in Abu Dhabi's hotels and hotel apartments, up 118 per cent on the same period last year, ADTA reported. South Korea and the UAE have forged close economic ties in recent years, with a consortium from the Asian country being appointed as the master contractor for Abu Dhabi's US$20 billion (Dh73.46bn) nuclear power station project.

Billions of dollars' worth of other industrial and investment deals have also been struck.

This week, a delegation from Abu Dhabi's travel industry will attend South Korea's main tourism exhibition, Kofta, for the first time, ADTA said. The exhibition runs from June 2 to June 5 in Seoul.

"The delegation includes Etihad [Airways], tour operators, accommodation providers and destination management companies," it said.

As well as planning to launch a Korean version of the website visitabudhabi.ae soon, ADTA said it had also translated some of its destination marketing materials into Korean.

There has also been a significant rise in the number of Emiratis visiting South Korea.

South Korea received 2,477 UAE passport-holders last year, according to figures from the Korea National Tourism Organisation, up 179 per cent from 887 visitors in 2009.

From the GCC, there were 8,627 visitors last year, up from 5,370 the previous year.

rbundhun@thenational.ae