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Seoul City, SM join hands to boost hallyu
By Jhoo Dong-chan
Tourists visiting Seoul will have a chance to learn K-pop dances from instructors who teach hallyu stars.
Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) said it would expand the existing K-pop dance lessons together with SM Entertainment, one of the nation’s largest agencies, beginning next year.
This is part of SMG’s programs to attract more hallyu fans to the city to boost tourism.
“According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the number of active members registered with hallyu fan clubs worldwide topped 3 million in 2011 and reached 9.3 million in 2013,” a city official said.
Since August, the city has been testing the program, in which expert instructors from SM teach hallyu fans how to dance to the latest songs of the company’s artists, Girls’ Generation, SHINee and EXO.
The city planned to give lessons to 450 people this year, but 850 have already applied for the program, according to city officials.
Separately from the dance class, the SMG will diversify the programs by additionally operating K-pop vocal classes, tours of broadcasting companies and Korean language classes featuring Korean soap operas.
It will also select Seoul’s top 10 hallyu destinations and develop them into tours by the first half of next year.
SMG will provide subsidies not only to Korean but also to foreign broadcasters and production companies, which feature the city in their TV shows, dramas or movies.
It will also financially support small-sized startup companies willing to jump into tourism. “Especially, we’ll help promote startup companies that develop smartphone applications to introduce must-see attractions in the city,” the official said.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon met CEOs of six startup companies at a town hall meeting in Gangnam, southern Seoul. They discussed how to cooperate with each other to attract more tourists to Seoul.
“Tourism is an important industry for economic growth and youth employment because the number of tourists to Korea is growing every year,” said Park.
“SMG will closely discuss and cooperate with private companies to develop tourism in the city and actively support startup companies with strong technologies and fresh ideas.”