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Cebu could soon be tagged ‘Seoul of the Philippines’ 

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A foreign tourist takes a photo with a local street dancing participant during the Sinulog 2018, Cebu City’s biggest annual festival. -- THE FREEMAN FILE

CEBU CITY may soon earn the tag “Seoul of the Philippines” with the growing number of Korean tourists visiting the country’s Visayas hub, according to the Department of Tourism (DoT).

Shalihmar Hofer Tamano, DoT-Central Visayas regional director, attributed the constantly increasingly influx of Koreans to Cebu’s richly diverse tourist attractions, cuisine, peace and order situation, and hospitality. “More than anything else, it’s the unique and genuine Filipino hospitality and the Cebuano charm that attract Koreans, Japanese and Chinese visitors to the region,” Ms. Tamano said in a statement.

The DoT regional office met last week with officials of the Korean Consulate and members of the Korea Travel Agencies Association (KOTAA). In 2016, more than 840,000 tourists from South Korea arrived in the region, mostly staying in Cebu City and other parts of Cebu province, particularly Bantayan, Mactan, Camotes, Oslob and Malapascua. Ms. Tamano said while full-year 2017 data is still being collated, it is likely that Korean arrivals in the province hit one million. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Cebu would soon be known as Seoul of the Philippines, Koreans’ home away from home,” he said.