By Sultan Jessa
Seoul: SOUTH KOREA – A significant achievement in its travel infrastructure is giving South Korea a big boost in its efforts to attract more tourists to the fast developing country.
This Asian giant has developed into one of the most affluent countries since partition in 1948.
This has happened when its neighbor, the Communist North Korea has slipped into a severe and ruthless dictatorship and a land of abject poverty and no freedom at all.
The Korean War ended in 1953 without a peace agreement.
The two countries with a lot in common have been at war for more than half a century.
South Korea, with a booming economy, is one of the Asian Tigers along with China and Singapore which have highly developed economies.
Korea is today one of the world’s leading exporter of cars and electronic goods.
More than eight million tourists visited the country in 2010.
And since then tourism has been climbing steadily.
Despite global economic concerns, Korea is preparing for even more tourists in 2016.
One particular event that boosted tourism in this country was Expo 2012.
Hea Keun Lee, a successful Korean businessman who is in the car rental business, is happy with the progress his country continues to make.
“We are on the move,” he said. “Nothing will stop us.”
Korea is developing at an extremely fast pace.
Samsung Electronics Co. overtook Apple Inc. in the last quarter to become the world’s largest smart phone.
Samsung is also the world’s largest manufacturer of televisions.
Amadeus, a leading transaction processor of advanced technology solutions for the global travel and tourism industry, is predicting South Korea will be a market to watch in 2015 for both inbound and outbound growth.
While Korea may not rival markets such as China and India in terms of travel volume, it is making some major leaps forward and should continue to do so in coming years.
At present, many of Korea’s visitors come from mainland China.
Korea is attracting a growing number of international visitors in recent years due to a growing appreciation for Korean culture, fashion, music and food.
During our trip, we found it extremely reasonable and easy to get to the Incheon International Airport from downtown Seoul.
For bus commuters in Seoul, a new smart phone technology at bus stations allows travelers to scan a barcode for instant information on departure times in English, Chinese or Japanese.
South Korea is most forward thinking country, just like Japan, thanks to its hurry hurry approach to everything.
The country, which is also home to a variety of LG products, has an insatiable appetite for technological advancement.
This country has a cando attitude.
It wants to do everything in fast forward.
The spanking new airport even has special smoking cafes equipped with high speed Internet and laptops.
In Korea, temples, pagodas and royal tombs are a source of much fascination.
The country’s climate is very similar to Canada.
The country even has maple trees.
It is a photographer’s paradise in the cool fall season.
The Republic of Korea was proclaimed in August 1948 and received United Nations backed support from the United States after it was invaded by the North two years later.
Its immediate neighbor has slipped into totalitarianism and poverty.
The country’s economy is now the third largest in Asia and the 13
However, the country is always on war alert.
There are regular evacuation exercises.
The demilitarized zone (DMZ) between South and North Korea is the world’s most heavily guarded and fortified frontier.
The United States maintains tens of thousands of soldiers in South Korea.
The country has a population of around 50 million.
The major language is Korean and the major religions are Buddhism and Christianity.
The monetary unit is won.
Newspaper readership is high and there are more than 100 national and local dailies.
Online gambling is a national pastime.
Animosity between the two Koreas still lingers.
Pleased to know that we have some enthusiastic Tourists.
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