South Korea has unveiled plans to introduce a new visa catering specifically to fans of South Korean culture.
About the Hallyu visa: South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has announced the launch of the Hallyu visa, a unique initiative aimed at attracting non-Korean enthusiasts of South Korean culture. Officially dubbed the “K-culture training visa,” it will allow foreign individuals enrolled in local performing arts academies to stay in the country for up to two years.
Capitalizing on Hallyu (Korean Wave): The Hallyu visa, originally unveiled back in Dec. 2022, is part of the country’s comprehensive five-year “Tourism Promotion Master Plan” to position the arts as a driving force behind the nation’s cultural growth. The plan includes the “K Tourism Road Show,” slated to debut in countries like the U.S. and Sweden later this year. While details of the K-culture visa requirements are yet to be disclosed, further information is expected to be announced in the second half of 2024.
K-Pop’s economic impact: The $10-billion K-pop industry has become a pivotal contributor to the nation’s economy. When the international supergroup BTS took a temporary break, the country’s GDP was significantly impacted. The global appeal of K-culture is highlighted heavily in Visit Korea’s marketing campaigns, featuring viral videos such as “Challenge Korea: Hello Future” and “Feel the Rhythm of Korea.”
Tourism growth forecasts: According to a report from South Korea’s culture-and-tourism ministry, K-pop has emerged as the top reason for visiting the country, surpassing attractions like Korean cuisine and cultural content. South Korea’s tourism sector is projected to grow at an average rate of 4.8% annually through 2032, significantly outpacing the projected 1.8% growth rate of the national economy, according to Forbes.
Visa for remote workers: South Korea is also introducing a separate visa for remote workers, effective from January 1. This visa allows remote workers earning at least $66,000 annually to reside in the country for up to two years.
The government’s initiatives are aimed at welcoming 20 million foreign tourists and generating $24.5 billion in tourism revenue in the coming year, according to The Korea Times. In addition to the new visas, South Korea is further expanding visa benefits for tour groups. These include reforms aimed at enhancing the overall travel experience within the country, incorporating foreign mobile payments, a traveler mobility app and English versions of navigation systems.