From Court Jester to Tourism Emissary
Appoints Hallyu Star Lee Joon-gi as an Honorary Ambassador for
On August 5, 2009, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO, CEO Charm
Lee) appointed Lee Joon-gi, a Hallyu star popular in China and throughout the Asian region, as an Honorary Ambassador for the promotion of Korean tourism.
Lee starred in the Korean movie The King and the Clown and the drama My Girl, gaining him widespread recognition in Asia. His concert last April in Korea was a great success attracting 2,500 fans from Asia, including 180 fans from China, who were invited through cooperation with the KTO Shanghai Office. In May, two more concerts took place in Suzhou, China, which were attended by 10,000 Chinese fans.
Lee Joon-gi is also very popular in Japan, and his concerts in Yokohama and Kobe in mid-July drew over 9,000 fans.
After achieving success as an actor, Lee sought new horizons. He launched a singing career, releasing his first album J-style. In the near future, he plans to pursue more overseas success.
The KTO believes that his appointment as Honorary Ambassador will help promote travel in Korea to both international and domestic travelers .
Lee Joon-gi's appointment ceremony attracted major media interest, and approximately 20 major journalists from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong were invited to attend the event.
Despite the global outbreak of influenza A (H1N1 virus), the number of international tourists visiting Korea rose by 15.3% in the first half of 2009 compared to the same period last year. In total around 3.79 million people have visited Korea this year. This is thought to be due to the particularly favorable rate of exchange at the beginning of the year, and the active overseas promotion done by the KTO.
The KTO is conducting a variety of promotional activities to raise the global profile of Korean tourism, these include appointing 45 Korean celebrities who are active in Korea or overseas, as Honorary Ambassadors.