SEOUL, Korea – South Korea is hoping to ride on the Gangnam Style wave to attract more visitors to the country next year.
The video by 34-year-old Korean rapper Psy has more than 620 million YouTube hits to date, making it the second most watched YouTube video of all time.
And with its huge popularity around the world, the head of the Korea Tourism Organisation said South Korea’s tourism will start to see the benefits of this from next Spring.
It has become a global hit. And even though its entirely in Korean, Gangnam Style has been on everyone’s lips.
Mr Lee Charm, Head of Korea Tourism Organisation, said: “If only one percent of them said, “Hey! What is this place, where is it? I’ll go there.” – that will be already about four to five million people, and so of course we will use that.”
Gangnam was where Psy was born and raised.
Often called the Beverly Hills of Seoul, the district has shopping streets full of high-end, luxury boutiques, and top-rated private and public schools.
Mr Lee said: “Gangnam Style is Gangnam. It’s a very happening place, It’s very trendy. We will show people Gangnam, that is, if you go there, you will be a part of that trendy place.”
Some 9.8 million foreigners visited South Korea last year, an increase of about 11 percent from the previous year.
South Korea is hoping to see a double-digit growth in the number of foreign tourists to the country. And one of the main reasons is this – the Korean Wave or ‘hallyu’, especially with the huge popularity of Gangnam Style.
In the last few years, fans of the Korean Wave have been flocking to the country of their favourite stars – as their popularity continues to grow.
“I’m from Sweden. Right now K-pop is growing much in Europe. So, It is getting more and more popular. They even play on the radio sometimes. So, that’s amazing,” said a tourist.
But these K-pop stars have not been able to reach the same level of global recognition that Psy has in the last few months. The tremendous popularity of his video has surprised Koreans, and even the singer himself.
So South Korea is hoping that this will be the start of a new era in its tourism industry.
Watch the video by 34-year-old Korean rapper Psy here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYPvAMrMzwI