New-look Seoul woos foreign business, tourists

Thu Nov 4, 2010 7:34pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Jeremy Laurence

SEOUL (Reuters Life!) - For a generation that has lived in a city that has hosted the Olympics and soccer World Cup, you might not expect an international meeting of politicians and business leaders to cause much ado.

Yet Seoul is in a state over next week's G20 summit.

While the excitement isn't in the same league as when it hosted the world's two biggest sporting events in 1988 and 2002, Seoul sees the upcoming meeting of the world's 20 leading economies as an ideal platform to show off the city's new look.

"It's a big step for Korea," said Seoul travel agent Cheon Hyeok-Tae, 33. "I'm positive about the G20 because it shows how developed Korea has become. I feel proud about it."

Some, however, believe Seoul is spending too much money on an event which excludes ordinary citizens.

"While I like the idea that Korea is hosting this event, I think it's been overdone," said Jang Yoo-jin, 23, who works at a clothing company. "There are messy posters everywhere, and I doubt this one event will solve so many issues."

Over the past 10 years, Seoul has morphed from a drab, concrete jungle into a modern -- albeit crowded and at times polluted -- Asian super-city.

In recent months Seoul has been putting the finishing touches to its multi-billion dollar facelift. Streets and pavements have been resurfaced, and flower boxes line the roads. Huge banners drape over dozens of the city's buildings.   Continued...