South Korea is planning to launch a special visa for K-pop fans, allowing them to stay in the country for up to six months and enjoy various benefits and privileges related to their favorite music genre.
The visa, which is expected to be available from March 2024, is part of the government’s efforts to boost tourism and cultural exchange amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the K-pop visa will be open to foreign nationals aged 15 and above who have completed a certified online course on Korean culture and language, and who have purchased a K-pop package from an authorized travel agency. The package will include tickets to K-pop concerts, fan meetings, and festivals, as well as access to K-pop museums, studios, and shops.
The visa holders will also be eligible for discounts on public transportation, accommodation, and shopping, as well as priority entry to popular tourist attractions and cultural events. They will also be able to participate in volunteer activities and social programs with local K-pop fans and artists.
The ministry said that the K-pop visa aims to attract more visitors and fans to South Korea, which has seen a sharp decline in tourism due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions and quarantine measures.
The ministry said that the visa will also promote the global popularity and influence of K-pop, which has become a symbol of Korean culture and soft power.
K-pop, or Korean pop music, is a genre that combines elements of pop, rock, hip hop, R&B, and EDM, and features catchy melodies, elaborate choreography, and colorful visuals. K-pop has gained a huge and loyal fan base around the world, especially in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, thanks to the success of groups such as BTS, Blackpink, EXO, and Twice.
The ministry said that it expects the K-pop visa to attract about 100,000 applicants in the first year, and generate about $500 million in revenue for the tourism and entertainment industries.
The ministry said that it will collaborate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Korea Tourism Organization, and the Korea Creative Content Agency to implement and promote the visa program.