Role of the Hallyu Wave in the Development of Cultural Tourism in South Korea


  • Małgorzata Bajgier-Kowalska Krakowska Akademia im. Andrzeja Frycza Modrzewskiego Wydział Prawa, Administracji i Stosunków Międzynarodowych
  • Mariola Tracz Polskie Towarzystwo Geograficzne Oddział w Krakowie
  • Kamila Wałach Krakowska Akademia im. Andrzeja Frycza Modrzewskiego Wydział Prawa, Administracji i Stosunków Międzynarodowych



cultural diffusion, cultural tourism, globalisation, Hallyu Wave, Korean pop culture, South Korea


The study is focused on globalisation processes occurring across the world in the area of culture and related tourist services, as well as local efforts to underscore regional cultural values and identity. The paper discusses the state and evolution of cultural tourism associated both directly and indirectly with Korean mass culture, its impact on tourist traffic, and benefits for the Korean economy. The proliferation of Korean culture known as the Hallyu Wave may be considered as a form of cultural diffusion. The three most important elements of Hallyu are Korean pop music known as K-pop, television soap operas known as K-dramas, and Korean feature films. All three are highly successful in Asia and the United States, as well as in Europe. This helps reduce the cultural barrier between South Korea and other countries around the world. In addition, they act as promotional vehicles for South Korea resulting in increased tourist traffic to this Asian nation. The number of tourists visiting South Korea increased more than 14 times in the period 1980–2014. The Hallyu Wave is also helping with the export of various South Korean products. According to data provided by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency for 2015, profits associated with the export of Korean cultural goods stood at 2.8 billion U.S. dollars. The paper uses data provided online by the Korea Tourism Organization, Korean government agencies, tourist agencies, and Internet sources directly associated with the provision of goods and services connected with the Hallyu Wave. In addition, the paper is based on a review of sources in the foreign research literature. All available sources were used to evaluate the impact of the Hallyu Wave on the growth of selected areas of the South Korean economy.


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Author Biographies

Małgorzata Bajgier-Kowalska, Krakowska Akademia im. Andrzeja Frycza Modrzewskiego Wydział Prawa, Administracji i Stosunków Międzynarodowych

Małgorzata Bajgier-Kowalska, Ph.D., assistant professor, Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University, Faculty of Law, Administration and International Relations, Department of International Tourism and Sociological Geography. Research issues, as well as publication themes, are concentrated on geomorphology and the issues concerning regional geography. The author’s research concentrates also on the problem of tourism and recreation growth, especially on the question of development conditions and functioning of tourist regions in the world including analyses of spatial differentiation of tourist infrastructure and the size of tourism itself.

Mariola Tracz, Polskie Towarzystwo Geograficzne Oddział w Krakowie

Mariola Tracz, Ph.D., geographer, didactic of geography, member of the Polish Geographical Society. Interested in: geographical education (geography curriculum, development of geography competency, geography on examination, history of geography education in Poland), socio-economic geography and tourism (agritourism, cultural tourism).

Kamila Wałach, Krakowska Akademia im. Andrzeja Frycza Modrzewskiego Wydział Prawa, Administracji i Stosunków Międzynarodowych

Kamila Wałach, M.Sc., graduate of the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University, Faculty of Law, Administration and International Relations. The author’s research interests are concentrated on international tourism, particularly on the region of Asia.


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How to Cite

Bajgier-Kowalska, M., Tracz, M., & Wałach, K. (2017). Role of the Hallyu Wave in the Development of Cultural Tourism in South Korea. Studies of the Industrial Geography Commission of the Polish Geographical Society, 31(3), 17–31.

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