Handsome Hunks Available for Rent as Tour Guides

By Yoon Hee-young | April 03, 2018 12:44

Many fans arrive in Seoul hoping to see the streets of the capital crawling with the kind of sleekly styled young heartthrobs they love from soap operas or music videos but are disappointed by the drab reality.

But some savvy entrepreneurs have launched a service that lets them down more gently by renting out handsome young tour guides whose hair and chins look nearly as good.

It is called "Oh My Oppa" after the Korean word referring to an older brother or lover and used for stars, which is familiar to many from the global megahit "Gangnam Style."

"Rent your very own 'oppa'" say the adverts.

Of course not every man qualifies. Drop-dead good looks are a prerequisite, but the tour guides must also have their own special itineraries. For instance, they need to have an area of expertise like architecture, food or trenday culture and style.

The guide fees start at W40,000 for two hours, and additional costs are mutually agreed in advance (US$1=W1,056). Winter ski trips, for example, cost a minimum of W200,000 for every 10 hours.

Some fear the scheme could degenerate into a male escort service, so any extracurricular activities are strictly banned to maintain the squeaky-clean image of Korean pop culture. For instance, night-time tours are prohibited, while the tour guides will not be allowed to drink alcohol with their clients.

Instead, the business claims they will be taking on the role of goodwill ambassadors.

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