South Korea Credits K-Dramas For Tourist Boom, Utilizes Settings From Popular Dramas To Bolster Tourism Experience

Ever since South Korea initiated the Hallyu, or Korean Wave in the late 80s, Korean dramas (often shortened and hyphenated to K-dramas) have become a powerhouse for the country’s entertainment industry on an international scale. Though K-dramas are technically associated to series that borderline the emotional delivery of a soap opera, it is often used as a blanket term for all of Korean television genres such as comedy, action, suspense and even variety shows which contain a mixture of reality, game and comedy.

Today, K-dramas are gaining popularity exponentially more so than any other time in the Hallyu Wave simply because of easier accessibility. This is thanks to the Internet and streaming sites specializing in K-dramas such as Viki and DramaFever. However, something wonderful for South Korea has happened because of the popularity of K-dramas: tourism has boomed.

Eventually, South Korea discovered the popularity of K-dramas led to a tourism boom. Now the country is catering to tourists by utilizing settings from popular K-dramas to bolster the tourism experience.

SBS, K-dramas
‘My Love From Another Star’ is one of the major K-dramas responsible for South Korea’s tourism boom. [Image via Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) Promotions for ‘My Love From Another Star’]
For South Korea, especially the capital Seoul, utilizing settings from popular K-dramas to encourage tourism is actually kind of a new thing despite how long K-dramas have been popular outside of their country. According to Kpop Herald, it is believed the initiative for “Hallyu Based” tourism came about when they realized how influential K-dramas are in setting trends, specifically a peculiar and interesting situation pertaining to the hit K-drama from 2013 to 2014, My Love From Another Star, as detailed by tourism site Visit Seoul.

“Not long ago, something strange happened on a cold winter day in China — fried chicken and beer starting selling like hotcakes. The merchants found this strange because the combination of beer and fried chicken was not common in China.

“What triggered the occurrence? The airing of My Love From the Star [Another title My Love From Another Star]. The Korean lifestyle is being introduced to the world through television series, starting trends and causing a stir outside of Korea. More people are traveling to Korea out of their love of Korean television shows.”

My Love From Another Star is just one of many Korean series or shows to garner so much popularity worldwide; these shows are not just setting trends, they are influencing their fans to visit South Korea. The country recognized the trend and utilized settings from popular K-dramas as popular destinations to visit when visiting South Korea through “Hallyu Tours.” According to Asia One, settings from We Got Married, Heirs, Doctor Stranger and Running Man are often showcased alongside with the already mentioned My Love From Another Star.

Hallyu Tours
Visitors attend an exhibition which features sets and stage props from ‘My Love from Another Star’ at Dongdaemun Design Plaza back in June of 2014. [Image via Korea Tourism Organization Promotions for Hallyu Tours]
South Korea is now doing their best to incorporate more settings into their “Hallyu Tours” because they are learning that their newer K-dramas are what usually attracts new fans, but it is the archives of past K-dramas going back to the late 80s that keep them hooked. For example, Boys Over Flowers and Coffee Prince are two of the most-watched K-dramas today, yet they originally aired back in 2009.

It should also be noted that K-dramas are also bolstering the popularity of tour packages already established in South Korea even before “Hallyu Tours.” Medical/well-being and historical tours have seen an increase in popularity, too, thanks to certain K-dramas like Doctor Stranger and Birth of a Beauty for the former, and The Moon Embracing the Sun and Six Flying Dragons for the latter.

For K-drama fans wanting experience a “Hallyu Tour” in South Korea, Visit Seoul’s new and improved website provides more details. They also provide another kind of tourism package made from another form of Korean entertainment that may have done more for Korea’s popularity than K-dramas: K-pop.

[Photo by Jean Chung/Getty Images]

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