The Seoul municipal government said Tuesday it plans to develop the city's multicultural districts into major tourist destinations in an effort to attract more foreign visitors.
The plan calls for the integration of unique cultural, historical and life-style features of the current four multicultural neighborhoods to make them more attractive to tourists, and the development of new areas.
Among the four districts, the city plans to develop the street in the major shopping district of Myeong-dong where the Chinese Embassy is located into an area showcasing the history of Seoul-Beijing cultural exchange and cooperation.
To help Muslims better present their culture to tourists, the city will publish a map of the area surrounding the Seoul Central Mosque in Itaewon, downtown Seoul, marking the best restaurants and shops for souvenirs, according to officials.
The city is also eyeing Seorae Village in southern Seoul, which is home to about half of the French community in the country, and the Russian and Central Asian neighborhood in Dongdaemun, where many restaurants are located, as candidates for the project.
"In close cooperation with embassies here and foreign organizations, we will publish diverse materials and make relevant facilities to introduce each area, and devise various tourism programs for foreign tourists," a city official said.
"Those who come to Seoul will not only enjoy Korea's tradition but also experience diverse international communities," he added.
Last year, Seoul saw more than 10 million tourists from the across the globe, according to municipal government data.
In a move to further promote the city as a major tourist attraction, the Seoul government plans to hold presentations for its major tour programs in Tokyo in March, in the Chinese city of Guangzhou in April, in Hong Kong and Taiwan in May, and Bangkok in June, the city said.
"The focus of our presentations will be on newly developed and guaranteed tour programs through which visitors can enjoy the Korean cultural wave and medical services, among others," another city official said.
"For the convenience of a growing number of tourists, we are scheduled to open two more information centers in the southern part of the city later this year."