The South Korean government will introduce a special privilege card that aims to entice wealthy Chinese tourists to the country, reports the website of Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao.
The South Korean embassy in China said late last month that the new card may be issued to Chinese citizens who have spent more than US$30,000 shopping in South Korea over the past five years or those who can show that they hold more than 50 million won (US$46,300) in a bank account and own a platinum credit card. Others eligible for the card include central government officials and well-known celebrities.
The card, which is being issued by the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the domestic tourism bureau and the finance department, will include a five-year multiple-entry travel visa to South Korea and offer discounts at department stores and duty-free shops. Cardholders can also enjoy guided shopping services and Chinese tour guides.
An estimated 20 million people will be eligible for the card, the embassy said.
Experts say the card is a good idea because Chinese tourists often choose Hong Kong over South Korea for their shopping trips because of the troublesome visa requirements.
Last year, the number of Chinese visitors to South Korea reached 3.92 million and topped Japan for the very first time. One in three foreigners to visit South Korea in 2013 was Chinese.
In 2012, each Chinese visitor to South Korea spent 2.29 million won (US$2,125), well in excess of the 1.62 million won (US$1,500) spent by the average tourist to the country.http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20140205000121&cid=1202