Workcation visas and K-culture will be established.

Marina Yu Phillips 기자 승인 2022.12.16 16:25 | 최종 수정 2022.12.16 16:29 의견 0
The arrival hall at Incheon International Airport is crowded with travelers, Monday. Yonhap

The K-culture visa and the workcation visa are two brand-new visa categories that Korea hopes to launch in order to draw in more tourists from outside and boost the country's struggling tourism sector, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic's lasting effects.

Additionally, the government declared 2023 and 2024 to be "Visit Korea Years."

During a meeting held at the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) headquarters in Seoul on Monday, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and relevant state agencies confirmed the sixth Tourism Promotion Master Plan created to revive the pandemic-affected travel industry from 2023 to 2027.

By 2027, the five-year plan hopes to attract 30 million foreign tourists yearly and generate three billion dollars in tourism-related revenue. The amount is higher than the sector's peak before the epidemic in 2019, which was 17.5 million.

The government announced that it will provide workcation visas and a K-culture training visa in order to entice foreign citizens who are eager to learn about Korean culture.

Young foreign nationals who are interested in Korean content and want to learn about the nation's entertainment industry and content development system are the target audience for the K-culture training visa. The applicant must agree to participate in a K-content industry education or training program, such as one offered by a K-pop entertainment agency, in order for the visa to be granted.

The visa aims to capitalize on the rising global popularity of Korean dramas, films, and music as well as satisfy the desire of foreign fans to experience Korean popular culture, albeit the specifics of its implementation have not yet been established. The introduction of the visa during the first half of 2023 has been confirmed by the ministry of culture.

The workcation visa is a new category of visa that will be offered.

Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) head Kim Jang-sil speaks during a press conference at the Korea Press Center in downtown Seoul, Wednesday. Yonhap

The term "workcation," which combines the words "work" and "vacation," describes a way of life in which people choose to work from home while spending an extended amount of time abroad. This adaptable way of living originated from "bleisure," a travel style that combines business and leisure travel, and it rose to popularity early in the epidemic as more individuals started working remotely. In 2022, 65 percent of the 5,500 respondents in a global research of eight nations reported by the BBC said it is likely they will extend a business trip to include personal entertainment or vice versa.

Foreign visitors will be able to temporarily reside in Korea with the workcation visa, also known as the digital nomad visa, and carry out their regular jobs as employees of a company from their home country. experiencing daily life in Korea throughout. The specifics of how the new visa will be used have not yet been decided.

If permitted, international visitors may stay in Korea for a maximum of two years to pursue their interests. It will be unveiled in the second half of the next year.

In order to improve the entire traveling experience, from entering Korea to leaving Korea, the government also aims to upgrade the nation's K-ETA electronic travel authorisation system.

A traveler passes by a flight information display board at Incheon International Airport, Dec. 7. Yonhap

K-ETA enables visitors from outside Korea to register their travel, medical, and criminal histories in advance for authorisation purposes. The online travel permit system was designed to expedite and simplify the admission procedure for tourists, but because of how applications are approved, it has generated complaints and conflicting responses from travelers.

The government will upgrade the K-ETA system by adding an en bloc approval service for group travelers and providing Chinese and Japanese language services. It is only accessible for now in English.

Foreign nationals will have greater options to work in Korea's tourism and other industries thanks to the government's new strategy.

The administration also intends to loosen the restrictions on hiring foreign nationals in the hospitality and tourist sectors. There will be five more positions than the current two for foreign employees with E-7 visas working in hotels.

Additionally, there will be less restriction on the working hours of overseas students. The weekly employment restriction of ten to fifteen hours will be increased to a maximum of thirty hours for D-2 visa holders who are in Korea pursuing a bachelor's degree.

The government has designated 2023 and 2024 as the "Visit Korea Years" and intends to collaborate with business entities to host 100 K-culture events throughout those two years. K-pop star concerts, the Incheon K-pop concert (INK), the One-Asia Festival, and the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games are just a few of the events that are scheduled.

With more K-content and narrative, KTO intends to make traveling more entertaining.

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