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How a reality show on first-timers' travel to Korea grabs TV audiences

Hosts, a cast member and a producer pose for photos during a press event for the second season of "Welcome, First Time in Korea?" in Sangam-dong, Seoul, on May 10, 2018. (Yonhap) "We try to minimize PPL (product placement advertisement) or any intervention in where they want to go or where to go for meals," he said. "The more we intervene, the less natural they would look in the show."    The show follows the itinerary of first-time visitors to Korea and records their travel in a refreshing departure from existing reality-travel programs that follow Korean celebrities traveling overseas. Korean TV viewers learn -- joyfully -- how foreign ordinary things can look in the eyes of first-time visitors, like floor seating and ventilators on a barbecue table. They also get to appreciate things that have been taken for granted -- like the city's mountainous landscape. Two teams from Germany and England climbed up Mount Bukhan -- one on a scorching hot day and the other on a blisteringly cold day. An image captured from "Welcome, First Time in Korea?" (Yonhap) Alberto Mondi, one of the four hosts and a popular TV personality in Korea, said he could rediscover new aspects of Korea from the perspective of other foreigners. "I've been living in Korea for almost 11 years now, and I enjoy learning new things about the country through the eyes of other foreigners."    In June last year, a three-episode pilot program aired on the cable channel featuring Mondi's three friends from the northeastern town of Mirano, Italy. Mondi showed around his friends, who had almost zero knowledge of the Asian country, except for the mega-hit song "Gangnam Style." He took his friends to a restaurant that sells fermented skate, one of the smelliest foods in the country. "People asked me why I took my friends to try it, among all other foods, but I only went there because that was one of my favorite restaurants," he said, rejecting speculation that he took them there on purpose to bring out the most fun and interesting reactions for the show. Based on the pilot show's solid performance with more than two percent viewership ratings, the first season went into production.

For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/culturesports/2018/05/10/0701000000AEN20180510011700315.html

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Winter Olympics trigger Korea tourism recovery

In total, international arrivals in February were up 5.7% on last year, and during the Olympic period they were up 13.7%. Further detail of the findings will be revealed at the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s (PATA) annual summit in Korea this month (May 17). During the Olympics, the most dramatic increase in arrivals came from Chinese independent travelers, up 57.7%, with a 26% market share, on the rebound from last year when Beijing objected to the stationing of US Thaad missiles in Korea. China’s government took action by discouraging group travel to Korea; consequently, 84% of Chinese arrivals are now independent travelers, compared to 35% a year ago. Data shows other big arrival increases came from Hong Kong, up 98.7%, the USA 15.9%, and Canada 55.6%. Vietnam saw an unprecedented 635.4% increase, due to improved air connectivity, a visa waiver during the Olympics, and the Vietnamese New Year. March and April registered double-digit growth, as the Olympic boost was sustained. Bookings for May, June and July are 8.5% further ahead than they were at the equivalent time last year, owing to a significant increase in bookings by Chinese independent travelers. In the months ahead, Vietnam, Canada and Japan are leading the tourism revival to Korea, alongside Chinese independent travelers, demonstrating that the recovery is widespread.

For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit https://www.eturbonews.com/184949/winter-olympics-trigger-korea-tourism-recovery