- Posted by Daniel Meesak
- On 22nd September 2015
- china, cotri, outbound, surprising, tourism
- Getting a driver’s license in Korea
Cheaper, quicker, and easier – these are three of the main reasons many Chinese people choose to go to Korea to get a driver’s license. Korean driving schools promise that it only takes a week to receive a driving license at registered schools in Korea, a process that usually takes around a year in China. The cost for a driver’s license in Korea is approximately half of the 7,000 RMB it costs on average in China, and the 30 day visa-free entry on Jeju Island makes it easy for Chinese visitors to quickly get a driver’s license.
Following the relaxation of rules for foreigners applying for driver’s licenses in 2011, only 13 hours of training are required, including a minimum of six hours actual driving.
The trend has been growing, and now many driving schools in Korea offer their websites in Chinese, and often provide foreign language services. Some tour companies have also started offering special packages to Chinese tourists, including driver’s licenses, shopping tours, and sightseeing.
According to CCTV, approximately 70,000 Chinese people got Korean driver’s licenses 2012-2014.
- Gay couples marrying in the United States
The news of the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states quickly spread in China, where many Chinese companies openly voiced their support for the LGBT community. In June this year, seven Chinese same-sex couples married in West Hollywood, as their prize for winning the Alibaba-sponsored “We Do” competition.
According to a study at UCLA, it is estimated that yearly revenue generated through same-sex weddings may reach a total of $2.6 billion by the time same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states.
- World-class marathons
The number of Chinese tourists attending IAAF Gold Label marathons have rapidly increased the last few years, with many Chinese runners attending IAAF-awarded marathons in cities such as New York City, Boston, London, Tokyo, and the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast Airport Marathon held yearly in Queensland, Australia has seen its Chinese participants increase by over 900 percent the last two years.
Grace Pan, the Queensland tourism and events director for the greater China region told Xinhua that promotional campaigns for the marathon have helped in attracting Chinese runners. The allure of running marathons in cities with little pollution is also said to contribute to this trend.
- Fertility treatments
China is in the top 10 percent of countries in terms of proportion of women in senior management positions, which although empowering women and giving them financial independence, also makes family planning more difficult.
The Chinese actor and director Xu Jinglei recently revealed in an interview that she went through an egg-freezing procedure in the U.S., which prompted a national debate on social media, where users widely supported the actor’s decision. The Chinese IT giant Alibaba previously ran a successful recruitment drive for state-run sperm banks, and is now reportedly considering organizing egg-freezing trips to the United States. The U.S. is widely considered the best destination for fertility treatment, and most of its fertility clinics are located in large cities with substantial Chinese communities, which helps in terms of Chinese-language services.
- Plastic surgery
Seeing a boom in plastic surgery-related tourism, South Korea plans to include face lifts, nose jobs, breast enlargements, and liposuction in the list of goods and services that are VAT-exempt for tourists. Many plastic surgery clinics in South Korea offer foreign language services and interpreters for Chinese, Japanese, and English, and specifically advertise towards Chinese customers with Korean celebrities famous in China. In 2014, 266,501 tourists visited Korea for medical procedures, representing a substantial increase from the 81,789 it had in 2010.
Photo: Cory Doctorow, flickr