Lee Charm, third from right, CEO of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), and Ha Tae-yoon, president of National Institute for International Education, hold a memorandum of understanding they signed Wednesday at the KTO office in central Seoul to attract foreign students and boost the tourism industry. / Courtesy of KTO
By Yun Suh-young
Korea plans to attract more foreign students in the coming years and is preparing a package that allows for tourism combined with education.
The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and the National Institute for International Education (NIIED) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Wednesday to increase the number of foreign students to Korea and to effectively promote the country.
KTO president Lee Charm and NIIED President Ha Tae-yoon agreed to attract more students as the demand to learn about Korean culture and language is increasing due to the expansion of "hallyu" or the Korean wave.
The numbers of foreign students at undergraduate and graduate schools and short term study abroad students who come to Korea to learn Korean have increased exponentially, according to the KTO.
"More students are coming due to the influence of K-Pop and Korean dramas. In line with such educational demands, the KTO and the NIIED will co-develop a new form of tourism package that combines Korean language and culture education with travel", the tourism organization announced in a press release.
The KTO and NIIED plan to actively promote the package by holding global exhibitions on studying abroad.
"We also plan to expand cultural exchanges between foreign students and Korean residents through programs such as Korea Stay which is a home-stay program certified by the KTO", an official from the organization said.
"The home-stay program will be targeting foreign students in Korea to let them experience the warm-heartedness of the Korean people. We hope such programs will reduce the anti-Korea feeling that has spread among some foreign students here".
The KTO is planning various promotion projects in the coming months including participation in the education exhibitions to be held in June in Cambodia and in November in Taipei.