Korea to introduce insurance for foreign tourists


Korea will introduce insurance for foreign tourists next year to help cover their medical bills in the event they have accidents here.

Administration also plans to set up more foreign-language signboards on indoor shooting ranges and in major tourist venues nationwide to help ensure their safety.

The measures, approved in a Cabinet meeting at Cheong Wa Dae Tuesday, are part of efforts to improve the tourism infrastructure ahead of the G20 Seoul Summit, slated for November next year, according to the presidential office.

The government will toughen safety regulations on indoor shooting ranges and “screen golf” centers, both of which have become increasingly popular among tourists, but are considered vulnerable to fires.

It will also carry out regular safety checks on the country’s major attractions to ensure “danger-free” tourist zones.

The plans came after a tragic blaze that killed 15 at an indoor shooting range in the southern port city of Busan last month. Ten of the victims were Japanese tourists.

“The measures are aimed at rooting out three disasters frequently seen in less developed countries ― fires, explosions and building collapses ― ahead of the G20 meeting,” the Office of the Prime Minister said in a press release.

The government is working with insurance firms to develop policies for foreign visitors in line with a rise in the number of inbound tourists, a Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said.

To help ensure their safety, the government plans to make safety an important factor in evaluating tourist services.

Those working at tourist venues will have to undergo longer hours of safety training. Guidebooks and signboards written in multiple languages will be provided at these sites.

The government will also push for early legislation on stiffer safety regulations for high-rise multipurpose buildings and huge underground shopping complexes such as the COEX mall in southern Seoul, the prime minister’s office said.