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First Korean Wave Expo kicks off in Jeju

2006/11/29 Source

The first Korean Wave Expo began its 100-day run yesterday in the southern island of Jeju with a number of top-rated hallyu stars including "Yonsama" Bae Yong-joon and actress Lee Young-ae attending the biggest-ever event on the Asian craze for Korean pop culture.

Titled "Hallyu Expo in Asia", the exposition is a high-tech multimedia event to promote Korean culture to outer regions by providing participants with the chance to experience dramas, movies and pop music.

"The expo is to highlight the cultural pride of Koreans by expanding Korean pop culture to other Asian countries. Also with the participation of many 'hallyu stars', we would let the people in other nations realize the infinite value of hallyu", said the Hallyu Expo Committee in a statement.

Bae and Lee, heroine of smash-hit drama "Jewel in the Palace" ("Dae Jang Geum") have been selected as the two celebrities officially promoting the expo.

The event received more attention from local and foreign fans as "Yonsama" made his first public appearance in a year to attend the opening ceremony last night.

About 4,000 tourists from Japan were expected to visit Jeju Island only to see Bae, said an official of the organizing committee.

With his trademark smile, the 34-year-old actor stole the hearts of many Japanese women in "Winter Sonata", a hit TV drama that promoted the boom of Korean pop culture in the neighboring country.

The expo is set to be a gathering for most hallyu stars as actors and actresses including Lee Joon-gi, Kim Hee-sun, Lee Dong-gun and Ahn Jae-wook are also scheduled to meet fans during the event.

Thanks to the active participation of Korean stars, the expo is expected to attract 150,000 visitors from Korea and other countries.

This would make a great contribution to revitalizing the local economy as well as further promoting sales of hallyu-related products, the organizing committee said.

It said the event is expected to generate approximately 75 billion won of sales in tourism.

"About 50,000 foreign tourists from all over Asia, mostly from Japan, are expected to visit Jeju Island to take part in the Korean Wave Expo. This implies that we could possibly see 75 billion won ($77 million) worth of sales during the event as each tourist is likely to spend 1.5 million won for accommodation, tours, admission tickets and purchases of hallyu-related goods during their stay on the island", said an official of the organizing committee.

By Cho Chung-un

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