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Posted : 2013-01-28 18:59
Updated : 2013-01-28 18:59

Chinese auto club members tour Korea for first time

Members of the Haitao Aiche Global Drive Auto Culture Club come out of rented vans in a parking lot at the Seoul Marina Club in Yeouido, Seoul, Monday, after they returned from a four-day trip around Korea. The auto club, which consists of 100,000 members, organized a road trip in Korea
with Korean and Chinese travel agencies and the Korea Tourism Organization. / Yonhap
Wang Ke Wei
By Yun Suh-young

Members of the Haitao Aiche Global Drive Auto Culture Club, an automobile aficionados' club in China, finished up a four-day tour around the Korean Peninsula, Monday.

This is the first time that members of a foreign auto club have toured the country by road. For the four-day trip, 120 members came to Korea Friday.

"I was surprised on this trip for Korea's service and safety. We visited five places ― Jeonju, Yeosu, Gyeongju, Daegu, and Seoul ― and Yeosu was the best. The beach there and the view of the ocean were fantastic," said Wang Ke Wei, a 53 year-old retired merchant, at the Seoul Marina Club in Yeouido, Seoul, where the club members arrived from the trip.

"This is the third time I have been to Korea and this time, I visited places that I haven't been to before. My first and second visits were to Jeju Island and Seoul. I definitely want to come back again on another road trip ― on an 11-day tour," she said.

The 11-day tour will include Suncheon in South Jeolla Province, Busan, Mt. Seorak and Cheorwon in Gangwon Province as well as Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Jeju Island.

The club has been active for 11 years and has 100,000 registered members. The club conducts 200 tour programs every year. There are non-driving tours and driving tours which usually take place in nearby cities for three to four days.

For the driving tours, members bring their own cars. Some bring Mercedes-Benzes or Audis as there are many rich members in the club.

The Korean tour was organized in conjunction with the Beijing Boyuanhaocheng International Travel Service in China, Wiztour in Korea, and the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).

For the trip, 20 vehicles were rented by the KTO for the tour participants ― six people travelled in each 9-person van with an international license holder driving the car.

"They were mostly executives and their families. That's why the average age is quite high although in the club there are more young members," said a Chinese interpreter for the trip.

The KTO expects the trip to boost relations between the two countries.

"The trip is a revolutionary change in the travel form for Chinese tourists whose visits have centered on cheap tours around the metropolitan region. We expect the tour to become a high-quality one for high income earners in China because the auto club members have an above average income," said a KTO official.

The tour for February has already had applications from over 500 members wishing to participate.

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