South Korea will waive a visa requirement for visitors from Japan, Taiwan and Macau during August in a bid to boost tourism and avoid lengthy delays in gaining visa approvals.
Yonhap News Agency reports that the temporary waiver has been approved with the goal of attracting more tourists to Seoul Festa 2022, to be held across the city from 10 to 14 August. The tourist festival will feature K-pop performances, an electric car race and other tourist experiences such as shopping, culture-hopping and sports, Yonhap said.
Visitors will be able to obtain entry approval via the Korea Electronic Travel Authorization website provided they do so at least 72 hours before departure.
According to Yonhap, Seoul officials had been pushing for the visa waiver program in consultation with the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency and various ministries since June, with visa approvals reportedly taking up to four weeks in Japan.
The waiver will also come as another welcome boost to South Korea’s 16 foreigner-only casinos which have only just started to see improved results following the removal of a mandatory hotel quarantine requirement for unvaccinated international visitors from 8 June. Korea also resumed the issuance of tourist visas for the first time in more than two years as of 1 June.
As reported by IAG, leading foreigner-only casino operators Paradise and GKL saw strong sales in July with Paradise seeing its casino revenue climb 297% year-on-year and GKL by 278% year-on-year.