July 29, 2016 10:36
More than 5 million people visited Seoul's four royal palaces and the Jongmyo Shrine in the first six months of this year, a fresh record.
Tickets for night tours of the palaces sold out as soon as online booking began, and many visitors dressed in hanbok or traditional Korean costume.
The total number visiting Gyeongbok, Changdeok, Changgyeong, and Deoksu palaces and the Jongmyo Shrine was tallied at 5.24 million from January to June, up 21.5 percent on-year, the Cultural Heritage Administration said Thursday.
Some 1.95 million were foreigners, up 73 percent on-year. Usually, more people tend to visit royal palaces in the second half of the year, so if the trend continues the sites will see well above 10 million visitors this year.
Gyeongbok Palace had the most visitors with 2.98 million, 1.52 million of them foreigners.
One fresh draw is that anybody dressed in hanbok is admitted free and the traditional costume is coming back into fashion among young people.
Next came Changdeok Palace with 897,198 visitors, Deoksu Palace with 703,506, Changgyeong Palace with 475,892 and the Jongmyo Shrine with 187,203. Changgyeong Palace saw the highest increase at 40.3 percent.
Kim Dae-hyun at the CHA said, "Visitor numbers increased dramatically thanks to night tour programs, which have been extended to 120 days this year."
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com