BILATERAL COOPERATION - SEOUL. Indonesians will be allowed to enter South Korea without a visa until April 2018, after the country temporarily eased immigration rules while it hosts the the Winter Olympics next year.
As reported by The Korea Times, visitors from Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines will be allowed to enter South Korea through Yangyang International Airport without a visa until April, as nearby Pyeongchang is set to host the Games in February.
Additionally, tourists from Southeast Asia who have already visited other OECD-member countries would be allowed to have multiple-entry visas.
The South Korean government has also extended discounts for e-visas for Chinese tour groups, which were due to end by Dec. 31, to be put in place until 2018.
"There will be progress in tourism exchange between South Korea and China through the South Korea-China summit," said Kim Dong-yeon, the South Korean Finance Minister, at a meeting to discuss tourism revitalization on Friday, as quoted by the Times. "We will open a meeting to strategize tourism and collect the opinions of the tourism industry and institute necessary measures."
Meanwhile, visa requirements for Chinese cruise ship passengers would be waived. Two large cruise ships will dock at east coast port city Sokcho during the Olympics, located about 140 kilometers north of the Games' host city in Gangwon province, to provide 2,200 rooms for tourists.
The South Korean government is also developing entertainment industry-inspired tour packages, including a K-pop concert tour, a K-drama location tour and meetings with K-pop stars.
The government is further set to expand interpretation services for tourists from Southeast Asia and the Middle East, implementing less strict standards for Vietnamese, Thai and Arabian interpreter applicants.
As far as opening up the country, international travelers who have a stopover at Incheon International Airport would be able to use the 72-hour transit tour program, which allows them to enter the country visa-free. More programs for foreigners in transit are also being developed.
Regarding getting around town, public transportation improvements would be adjusted to be more tourist-friendly, and fixed-rates for taxi fares in designated areas would prevent foreign passengers from being overcharged.