by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
South Korean actor Lee Min-ho will star in government-produced commercials aimed at jumpstarting the Korean tourism industry, which took a hit following the MERS outbreak.
According to a Yonhap News report, the Boys Over Flowers star will introduce four to five popular tourist spots in South Korea to potential visitors overseas. The commercials will begin airing next month on major TV channels in the United States, Canada, China, Japan and Thailand. American K-drama fans can expect to see Lee’s face on CNN and Arirang TV.
“We are launching an ad campaign that will motivate visitors from major overseas foreign markets to visit [South Korea] to achieve an early recovery of the domestic tourism market, which has been mired in a slump due to the spread of MERS,” said an official for Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
South Korea’s tourism industry has plummeted in recent months due to the spread of MERS. The Korean Tourism Organization noted that the number of incoming international visitors dropped to 41 percent in June, when compared to statistics from last year.
However, the MERS outbreak seems to be lifting, with the death toll remaining flat at 36 for more than two weeks. As of Monday, the Korean health ministry said only 12 people remain hospitalized for MERS, but only one patient has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Lee has previously promoted South Korea in various commercials, but the government-sponsored ads will place the actor in a more official role as a spokesmodel for Korean tourism. Following his appearance in the hit 2013 Korean drama The Heirs, Lee has become one of the highest-paid spokesmodels in Asia. According to one representative from China, Lee earned about $9 million from just commercials last year.
Featured image via Kdrama Stars