15:37 | 16/12/2016 Society
(VEN) - Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) established diplomatic relations in 1992. Over the past more than two decades, the two countries have developed and upgraded bilateral relations to a strategic cooperation partnership. The two sides have seen big achievements from bilateral cooperation, especially in culture and tourism.
Vietnamese tourists visit South Korea
Although it has become less flourishing than it was in the late 1990s, the Korean Wave, known as Hanllyu, continues to spread in Vietnam through movies, music, and other means of entertainment.
Statistics show that Vietnam currently has 65 television stations broadcasting more than 20 Korean TV serials per day in average. When asked, “Do you like Korean TV serials and movies?” 78 percent of young Vietnamese people answered “Yes” and 22 percent said “No”. Korean movies have been firmly positioned in Vietnamese cinemas and VCD/DVD markets in recent years. Movies and TV programs have brought young Vietnamese people closer to Korean fashion trends and music, especially K-Pop. Many famous Korean artists and bands such as Jang Dong Kun, EXO, and Bi Rain, have visited Vietnam. In recent years, some Korean businesses have invested strongly in the Vietnamese entertainment and communications sectors. In the first six months of 2016, the CJ CGV Vietnam Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of the CJ Group, invested more than US$120 million in building high-quality entertainment facilities in Vietnam as well as cooperation and social activities to contribute to the development of the Vietnamese cinema industry. The company intends to invest an additional more than US$30 million in Vietnam until the year-end.
By the end of this October, CJ CGV worked to operate 36 cinema complexes with 235 projection rooms in Vietnam. The company plans to open 12-15 new cinema complexes in the country from now until 2020. This year, CJ CGV has distributed 18 among the total 41 Vietnamese films in the movie market.
CJ Vietnam CEO Chang Bok Sang said the group would set up a joint venture later this year to produce entertainment programs in Vietnam. One of its subsidiaries, CJ E&M, currently cooperates with Vietnam Television (VTV) to produce films. Earlier this March, South Korea’s number-one internet search portal, Naver Corporation, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities to promote cultural exchanges between Vietnam and South Korea. Under the MoU, the two sides will jointly produce Vietnamese subtitles for V-live broadcasts (www.vlive.tv/home), and enrich Naver’s Vietnamese dictionary.
Vietnam, attractive destination for Korean tourists
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), more than 160,000 Vietnamese tourists visited South Korea last year while Vietnam received about 1.1 million Korean visitors.
The number of Vietnamese tourists to South Korea grew 50 percent in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period in 2015. It is expected to reach 240,000 by the end of 2016. Meanwhile, the number of Korean tourists to Vietnam was up 36 percent and is predicted to hit 1.5 million by the year’s end.
To increase tourism cooperation between the two countries, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) has signed MoUs with the VNAT, Vietnam Airlines, and Vietravel this October, looking for a target of two million Korean tourists to Vietnam and 400,000 Vietnamese tourists to South Korea next year.
Following Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air has opened Hanoi-Seoul and Ho Chi Minh City-Seoul flight routes since 2013. So far, Vietjet Air has offered nearly 2,500 flights with about 400,000 passengers, contributing to promoting tourism cooperation between Vietnam and South Korea.
Vietjet Air Deputy General Director Nguyen Thi Thuy Binh said the airline firm would inaugurate two more flight routes to South Korea, Hanoi-Busan and Hai Phong-Seoul this December. She expected these four flight routes would further boost tourism exchanges between the two countries, marking the growth of Vietjet Air in the Korean market.
According to the Mekong Viet Travel Service Co., Ltd, the number of Korean tourists to Vietnam has increased because of charming landscapes in the country. Additionally, there is a large Korean community in the country as South Korea is a major foreign investor in Vietnam. Reasonable travel expenses and the ease of moving from Vietnam to other Southeast Asian countries is another reason.
The number of Vietnamese tourists to South Korea has also grown in recent times due to sound advertising policies from the KTO, according to Viet Travel Company General Director Tran Van Long. He believed competitive air ticket prices, diverse destinations, and reasonable tour costs would encourage more Vietnamese to visit South Korea. The number of Vietnamese tourists to South Korea using Viet Travel services in 2016 doubles that of last year.
Vietnam Travel and Marketing Transports Company (Vietravel) Marketing Director Tran Thi Viet Huong said that Vietravel has launched nearly 20 tours (four to six days each) to South Korea this year. In the first nine months of 2016, Vietravel served 15,000 Vietnamese tourists to South Korea, double compared with the same period last year.
The increasingly tight cooperation between businesses of the two countries has brought Korean culture closer to Vietnamese people while at the same time enhancing the popularity of Vietnamese culture and tourism among Korean people.
Mai Ca & Thanh Thanh