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Seoul, NYC form partnership to boost tourism

/ Source: The Associated Press

New York City's got Seoul.

Seeing potential in attracting more travelers from Asia, the city's tourism agency announced a partnership Monday with the government of the South Korean capital to spark more cultural and recreational visits between the two metropolises.

The partnership also was announced at a news conference at Seoul City Hall.

As part of the agreement, an advertising campaign will appear in the entertainment and shopping districts of both cities. More than 130 posters in Seoul will promote travel to New York City; 70 posters in the city will encourage New Yorkers to visit Seoul. Digital ads for Seoul also will appear in Times Square.

In addition, Korean Air is offering a discount on flights between Seoul and New York City for a limited time. The airfare, starting at $1,295 for Seoul-bound flights, must be purchased by Oct. 31 for travel between Nov. 1, 2011, and March 31, 2012. The period includes major winter holidays, as well as the Lunar New Year.

George Fertitta, chief executive of NYC & Company, said the two cities have much in common.

"Both are global leaders of business, innovation, design and style," he said in prepared remarks. "Both are pop culture capitals."

The partnership is NYC & Company's first with an Asian country. It previously formed partnerships with London, Madrid, Sao Paulo and Miami.

NYC & Company said travel from South Korea to the United States rose 49 percent last year. About 223,000 South Koreans visited New York City in 2010. Among them, about 60 percent visited for leisure and 40 percent to see friends or relatives.

More than 650,000 traveled from the U.S. to visit Seoul, a city of almost 10 million.