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Title TV Show Team Girl Airs Specials on Korea Tour
No 76 Inquiry 419 Date 2018.06.16

Every Saturday, at 1 p.m., Thailand’s television channel GMM 25 airs a popular show called Team Girl which features places people in their 20s and 30s would want to visit. Following its Seoul special aired last year, two more specials on Korea tours were produced and aired back to back on June 2 and 9. In contrast to last year’s show on Seoul’s top attractions, the first special (aired June 2), titled “Top in Korea,” introduced the city’s “hip places”—cafés in Seongsu-dong in eastern Seoul; the beauty salons frequented by Hallyu stars; and the Lotte World Tower, which was completed in 2017. On June 9, a “Top in Busan” special showed the two-kilometer cable car line that runs above the scenic waterways in the southeastern coastal city of Tongyeong; Dongpirang Village and its colorful murals; Busan’s Jagalchi Market; and Gamcheon Culture Village, known for its steep streets, twisting alleys and brightly painted houses.


Team Girl hosts introduce Korean food on air. (Source: Team Girl Facebook page)


For the Korea tour specials, the show’s regular hosts Jennie and Mook were accompanied by one of Thailand’s most famous media personalities, DJ Bookko, to deliver detailed information for tourists. DJ Bookko has personally traveled to Korea more than 30 times, often posting photos from his trips to Korea on social media, and says he likes Korea as a travel destination, Korean food, and Korean pop culture. In 2014, he drew attention by announcing that he had successfully undergone plastic surgery in Korea, and he even started his own plastic surgery clinic business in Thailand in partnership with a Korean clinic. In 2017, the Korea Tourism Organization named him an honorary Korean tourism ambassador to Thailand.

The latest Team Girl specials that featured relatively unknown hot places and provincial tourist attractions indicate changing tourism trends in Korea. According to statistics released in February 2018 by Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports, some 8.79 million Thais departed the country for tourism purposes in 2017, up 7.23 percent from a year ago. They spent some TBH 276 billion (KRW 9.3 trillion) abroad, up 9.59 percent from the previous year. Thai tourists who traveled to Korea increased 10 percent to 455,426, and they spent an estimated TBH 16.1 billion (KRW 544 billion).


Team Girl special on the five places to go in Busan and Tongyeong. (Source: Team Girl Facebook page)


With the rising number of Thai tourists bound for Korea, there is a growing need to introduce fresh attractions to travelers who have already visited Korea before. Since many Thai media outlets have already featured tours in Korea and many people rely on others’ experiences through reading up online, it is necessary to diversify the tourist attractions in Seoul and expand tourism promotion elsewhere in the country. In order to attract tourists from Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia, Korea should learn from Japan, which has developed distinctive tour courses in every region, not just Tokyo. Japan is Thais’ favorite tourism destination, with some 942,184 people visiting the country in 2017.

Busan and Tongyeong recently began drawing attention from Thai tourists. The city governments of Busan and Tongyeong have selected Southeast Asia, in addition to Europe, as a main target of their promotional events, and have held FAM tours and briefing sessions. The Busan Tourism Organization opened an office in Southeast Asia this year to promote Korea tourism. It seems more Korean cities may become hot tourist destinations in the near future.


Team Girl Korea specials

https://youtu.be/wdlF_0jBRyQ (Top In Korea)

https://youtu.be/90RshjwWqlw (Top In Busan)






Bang Ji-hyeon (Correspondent of KOFICE in Thailand)