16 December 2010

Inclusion of South Korea in US ESTA program gives boost in tourism

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The number of South Koreans visiting in the US this year is expected to pass 1 million as a result of the country’s inclusion in the ESTA program, US officials say.

US Visa

Hawaii has been the destination of choice for South Koreans.

Two years ago, only around 600,000 South Koreans visited the US because the arduous and lengthy US Visa application process that required them to visit the US Embassy in Seoul.

Last year, South Korea was added to the US Visa Waiver Program, which enables citizens of approved countries to travel to the US with only an ESTA. The  ESTA, or Electronic System for Travel Authorization, can easily be applied online and is approved within a few days.

US officials say the increase in the number of visitors from South Korea is a result of relatively strong economic conditions in Korea as well as the US Visa Waiver Program.

The state of Hawaii has been the major beneficiary of the increase in tourist: the number of South Korean visitors has more than doubled to over 100,000 this year.

This year, Korean Air has been flying 10 non-stop flights per week between Seoul’s Incheon International Airport and Honolulu, with plans to add four more in March.


The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their  ESTA  applications to the US Embassy .


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