Over the past decade, Korean tourism has seen a monumental increase, which includes more foreigners. The onset for such international appeal can easily be linked to the Hallyu Wave, a period within Korea’s entertainment industry that has suddenly seen major global interest, especially when it comes to its music (K-pop), television series (K-dramas, K-variety), and films (K-movies). Many Korean industries have utilized the Hallyu Wave’s most popular stars to help promote tourism in hopes of establishing more international investment. Park Shin Hye is an excellent example, in which under Lotte Duty, showed the world just how wonderful traveling to Korea would be, especially with her “lyrical journey” to Jeju Island with Super Junior.
Though Korean companies may select certain Hallyu Stars to be their representatives for tourism, Visit Korea (which is often recognized as the official organization for Korean tourism) selects their own officials to be their ambassadors. K-drama actor Lee Min Ho and K-pop idol Seolhyun of AOA are now the new ambassadors for the next two years.
According to a translation of the original article by Korean news outlet, Naver, thanks to Soompi, the aforementioned two Hallyu Stars were selected to represent and promote Korea’s tourism industry. Their roles were announced on Friday, November 6. They will attend various events including K-pop festivals, K-pop dance competitions, and a “K-smile” campaign, in which the last on the list would be perfect for Seolhyun. Their ambassador duties will conclude in 2018 at the 2018 Winter Olympics being held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Of course, Lee Min Ho and Seolhyun were chosen for their position in their respective places in the Hallyu Wave. The former, Min Ho, is a very popular Korean actor who has starred in numerous K-dramas and K-movies not only popular in Korea but internationally as well. His most popular roles include Gu Jun Pyo in Boys Over Flowers, Lee Yoon Sung in City Hunter, Kim Tan in Heirs, and Kim Jong Dae in Gangnam Blues. As for the latter, Seolhyun, she is one-eighth of the popular K-pop group AOA (abbreviation for “Ace of Angels”). Making their debut back in 2012, AOA had their most successful year in 2012 with their songs, “Miniskirt” and “Like A Cat.” However, they would gain the most attention for their 2015 song “Heart Attack” (see the music video below). Seolhyun has also been recognized for her K-variety show appearances and budding acting career.
It should be noted that Lee Min Ho and Seolhyun are already busy with their new ambassador for Korean tourism duties, as reported by KdramaStars. On the day of their initiation (at least through the media), both Min Ho and Seolhyun attended the official Visit Korea proclamation ceremony which was presided over by President Park Geun Hye. The Blue House, which is South Korea’s equivalent to the United States’ White House, released numerous pictures of the ceremony via social media.
Lee Min Ho and Seolhyun follow in the footsteps of other famous Korean figures, though they may or may not be stars of the Hallyu Wave. For 2010 to 2012, Winter Sonata lead Bae Yong Joon, 2o1o Winter Olympics figure skater Kim Yuna, cartoon character Pororo the Penguin, and K-pop mega girl group Girls’ Generation were ambassadors. For 2013 to 2015, Jay Park of K-pop group 2PM and Psy, famous for his viral hit, “Gangnam Style,” were ambassadors. Others who’ve been recognized as ambassadors include Lee Joon Gi (The Scholar Who Walks the Night), Park Si Hoo (Prosecutor Princess), Jung Ryeo Won (Bubblegum), and Kim Soo Hyun (My Love From Another Star and Producer).
[Image via Wa Dae/Blue House Official Facebook Page]