LOS ANGELES, CA – Korean Air will realize significant benefits when the US waives visa requirements for South Korean tourists and business people, planned for next week. And a visa waiver program (VWP) for South Korea will reap dollars into the US travel and tourism industry.

Korean visitors spent more than US$3 billion in the US last year, up 9 percent from the previous year. And three years after VWP originally became effective, 70 percent of the countries showed a 50 percent or more increase in visitors to the US.

“With easier access to America, the number of Korean visitors will increase significantly,” said John Jackson, Korean Air’s director of marketing of the Americas. “There should be an immediate increase of visitors traveling for short-term language courses, tourism, and family visits. Predictions are for over a 10 percent increase the first year of VWP,” he said.

“Korean Air has been a leader in the visa waiver program, having worked for more than a decade toward its enactment. This program will help economies on both sides of the Pacific,” Jackson said.

“Korean Air is set to benefit significantly from this, because we carry more people between America and Korea than any other airline,” he said. “We already are planning an increase in flights across the Pacific next year. We’re estimating anywhere from a 5 percent to 7 percent capacity increase. For example, in December, we’re upping our frequency to Washington to daily flights instead of four per week.

“In addition, we’re producing a significant ad campaign in America that will air only in Korea and promote America to Korean tourists. This encouragement plus the ability to travel more easily will definitely inspire more visits,” Jackson said.

With a fleet of 125 aircraft, Korean Air is one of the world’s top 20 airlines and flies from more cities in the Americas to more cities in Asia than any other airline.