By Genalyn Kabiling
South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man promised to invite more Koreans to visit the Philippines and help build a “Koreatown” in Manila but asked the government to ensure their safety.
The ambassador relayed the statement when he paid a courtesy call on President Duterte Monday in Malacañang where he highlighted the robust ties between the two countries.
“Yesterday when I met him, I promised to bring two million tourists during my term. Also, I asked him to secure the safety and security of our Korean nationals,” Han said during the “Virtual Presser” organized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office – Office of Global Media Affairs at the Palace Tuesday.
“Now we are very happy to see the dropping of crime rate with the strong and excellent leadership of President Duterte,” he added.
Han said at present Korea ranks number one in foreign tourist arrivals in the Philippines. Some 1.6 million Koreans visited the country last year.
“Many Koreans love this wonderful country,” he said.
“I’m trying to diversify the tourism destination for Korean tourists so I have visited more than 30 local areas. There are so many wonderful festivals…I’d like to invite Koreans to enjoy the local festivals,” Han added.
The ambassador also noted that South Korea has offered $100 million in official development assistance to support the construction of the new airport in Dumaguete. “There is a wonderful diving spot, there is a wonderful Silliman University, so after completing the area, I think Dumaguete will be one of the wonderful tourism destinations,” he said.
He likewise disclosed plans to establish a “Koreatown” in Malate, Manila, citing close collaboration with the city government of Manila.
“In Malate area, there are many Korean restaurants, many Koreans visit there,” he said.
Han said he has asked Manila Mayor Isko Moreno to support the development of the proposed Koreatown in Malate. For now, he said there is no timeline yet when the project will be completed.