By Israa Mohamed
Photos = Kim Seon Ah
This year's Korea Grand Sale, a shopping, cultural and tourism extravaganza for foreign nationals, was opened on Jan. 12.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said the event will run both online and offline through Feb. 28.
Held annually since 2011, the sale this year features major brands and companies in shopping and tourism running promotions by theme like shopping, experience, food and beverage, and Korean culture.
Over the sale period, all nine of the country's airlines including Korean Air, Asiana and Jeju Air are offering up to 94% off tickets for Korea-bound flights on 110 routes, along with additional services as benefits.
In accommodations, Lotte Hotels & Resorts, Sofitel Ambassador Seoul, Fairmont Ambassador Seoul and Agoda prepared discounts on rooms and benefits exclusively for the festival.
Major duty-free shops like Lotte, Shilla I'Park, Shinsegae and Hyundai are giving souvenirs and shopping subsidies for each purchase amount. Exclusively for foreign customers, major department stores including the Galleria and Lotte are holding gift certificate promotions exclusively for the festival.
In addition, interactive events are highlighting Korean culture to welcome foreign tourists to Korea. Programs offered exclusively in Korea include K-pop performances, a Hallyu (Korean Wave) pilgrimage, making Korean food and tasting traditional winter snacks. Those who wish to attend can register through social media.
The capital's Myeong-dong neighborhood and Gangnam-gu District, two areas frequented by foreign visitors, will have welcome centers over the festival period to provide tourism information on things like welcoming events for tourists, interactive programs for experiencing Korean culture and games, and event-related shopping benefits. Services for travel safety and interpretation are also offered.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Bo Gyoon that day attended the opening ceremony for a welcome center in Myeong-dong and hosted the facility's unveiling with tourism representatives including staff from Myeong-dong Special Tourist Zone and tourist police.
He also greeted foreign tourists at the welcome center and gave them souvenirs while encouraging staff there. He also made an on-site check to ensure a safe festival.
More information on the event including major benefits is available on the sale's official website: http://en.koreagrandsale.co.kr