By Kang Hyun-kyung
Korea is likely to stop using "Korea, Sparkling," as its official tourism slogan in the near future as many specialists question its effectiveness as a motto representing the nation's identity.
"The vast majority of experts expressed consistently negative views about the slogan. They said it sounded like a brand name for carbonated or sparkling water, not a catchy tourism slogan," said Euh Yoon-dae, chairman of Presidential Council on Nation Branding, Wednesday.
During a meeting with 20 lawmakers affiliated with a National Assembly study group, Euh said his committee would let brand specialists conduct research on the effectiveness of the slogan first and then make the results public.
"The general public will ultimately decide whether the nation should continue to use or scrap the slogan," said the chairman.
Some experts say criticism will be unavoidable if and when the government decides to stop using the slogan because of unwise budget spending and possible confusion from foreigners who are considering Korea as a tourist destination.
The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) has promoted Korea tourism overseas with "Korea, Sparkling" since it was coined in 2007 as the nation's culture and tourism slogan.
Shim Jeong-bo, executive director for public relations department at the KTO, declined to comment on the issue.
"It's inappropriate for me to comment on the issue now because KTO has not been officially informed about it. I think we will be able to answer the question after an official announcement is made," Shim told The Korea Times.
During the meeting, committee Chairman Euh also mentioned the possible change in the national slogan. Currently, "Dynamic Korea" is used.
"Experts' views are divided over its effectiveness. They share the view that the term of dynamic has a lot of positive meanings though," he said.
Euh continued some experts said it was a proper slogan matching Korea's identity very well, however, others noted that while it was very effective back in 2002 when World Cup fever swept the entire nation, it doesn't quite match present-day Korea.
Those who prefer replacing the current one note that a more effective slogan should contain words representing Korea's technology power.
A recent public opinion poll found 12 percent of foreigners abroad cite strong technology capability when they think of Korea. The survey of 4,214 people living in 25 countries was conducted from last November through January.
Despite the division, Youn Jung-in, director for planning and coordination of the branding committee, said that many experts may prefer using Dynamic Korea even after a new national slogan is chosen.