The South Korean Immigration is looking into easing visa requirements for Filipino tourists, according to an official of the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO).
Chang Wook Jung, senior deputy director of the Incentive and Exhibition team of KTO, said the KTO head office in Seoul and the KTO satellite office in Manila have been working on convincing the South Korean government to ease up the visa application process in the Philippines.
''There is a process going on at the moment and our government is looking at the arrangements we have in place for the visa requirements. We're hoping that in two or three years, these arrangements will finally be approved,'' Jung said during the Korea MICE Mart held at a hotel in Pasay City.
Jung added that the move follows the increasing number of Filipino tourist going to Korea, the rapid growth in the Philippine economy and the strong diplomatic ties of South Korea and the Philippines.
According to the recent tourism statistics between the Philippines and Korea, during the first quarter of 2013, 81,540 Filipinos visited the country, an 11.5 percent increase from the same period last year. In 2012, a total of 331,346 Filipinos traveled to Korea.
Meanwhile, for the MICE demand from the Philippines, Korea is now emerging as a corporate incentive tourism destination offering diverse tailor-made tourism programs.
Jung said this increase is attributed to the staunch effort of KTO Manila, which has recently celebrated its first anniversary of operations in the Philippines, to promote Korean tourism in the country.
''KTO Manila is doing great job promoting our country to Filipinos and local travel agencies. But until we address the obstacle of visa application, the Philippine market cannot reach its full potential. Over one million Koreans visited the Philippines last year. We're confident that someday, the Filipino market will match this demand for Korea,'' Jung said.