Korean museums, palaces attract foreign tourists amid rise of Korean culture

2023.11.02 15:20:02 | 2023.11.02 17:22:55

[Courtesy of The National Museum of Korea]이미지 확대

[Courtesy of The National Museum of Korea]

South Korean museums and palaces are emerging as popular tour destinations for global travelers as Korean culture encompassing dramas and music become more popular.

According to the National Museum of Korea, more than 142,000 foreigners visited the museum in the first 10 months of this year, which is up 170 percent from the same period a year ago.

The National Museum of Korea became a landmark in Seoul three years ago when Korean idol group BTS performed at the venue.

During the pandemic in 2020, BTS unveiled a virtual graduation ceremony for international graduates, “Dear Class of 2020,” at the museum. The video recorded a total of 100 million views on YouTube.

Other museums are also emerging as popular destinations.

In September, the Gyeongju National Museum saw a remarkable surge in foreign visitors, with 6,272 recorded, more than triple the number of visitors during the same month in the previous year.

“Record numbers of foreigners are visiting, particularly those from the West and from English-speaking nations, a notable increase from the pre-pandemic period,” said Kim Hyun-hee, a researcher at the Gyeongju National Museum.

The Korean wave has led to a global trend in learning Korean history and spiritual culture, including Korean language.

In September, the National Hangeul Museum, a facility dedicated to the history and usage of the Korean alphabet, Hangeul, welcomed over a record 14,000 foreign visitors. The figure represents an 8.2 percent increase compared to 2019.

In particular, there has been a significant shift in the diversity of tourists.

Compared with pre-pandemic data, tourists from all over the world, especially from advanced countries, have increased.

With a recent surge in Chinese tourists on group tour programs, the number of international travelers to Korean historic places is expected to rise further.

“The K-wave has the largest potential of growth, which highlights the need for a tourism program that promotes cultural heritages across the country,” said an industry official.

By Lee Hyang-hwi and Han Yubin

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]