Airbnb to focus on promoting S. Korea as must-visit travel destination

Home rental platform Airbnb Inc. will prioritize its focus on South Korea this year as it promotes the Asian country as a must-visit destination for travelers, a top executive said Wednesday.

Airbnb's co-founder and chief strategy officer (CSO) Nathan Blecharczyk also expressed hope to work with local governments across the country to boost tourism in South Korea and act as a positive conduit for the amplification of Korean culture around the world.

"Korea is in the global spotlight. K-culture is running a once in a generation opportunity to grow tourism in a way that's enduring for Koreans," Blecharczyk said at a global campaign launch event in Seoul's Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP).

He said Airbnb will get even more people around the world dreaming of visiting South Korea.

In November, Airbnb added Korean traditional houses, known as "hanok," as a new category.

The number of foreign visitors to South Korea hit a record high of 17.5 million in 2019, generating tourism revenue of US$20.7 billion, according to data compiled by the Korea Tourism Organization.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of visitors dropped sharply to 2.5 million in 2020 and 967,000 in 2021 before increasing to 3.19 million in 2022.

Blecharczyk noted that Airbnb's tweet last year announcing a campaign to list a countryside home in Pyeongchang, about 130 kilometers east of Seoul, a place featured in a reality program starring global superstar BTS, became the most liked tweet in the company's history.

Source: Yonhap News Agency