Amid the outbreak of COVID-19, South Korea is still actively promoting its culture and tourist destinations to global audiences. Through the initiative of Imagine Korea Virtual Reality, the country invites foreign people to view Korean sightseeing places and tourist spots. Based on Imagine Korea as the case study material, our study attempted to identify the perceptions, feelings, and expectations of Indonesian consumers of Hallyu through virtual tourism offered by South Korea. The study employed in-depth interviews with 15 respondents who often consume Korean pop culture. The result revealed that most respondents had never experienced or had been interested in any virtual tours offered during the pandemic. Nevertheless, the experiments changed their perceptions of the entertainment virtual tours can provide throughout the COVID-19 crisis. While most respondents agreed that virtual tours sparked their interest in visiting Seoul after the pandemic ended, they mainly stated that virtual tours could never replace traditional travel. Thus, instead of serving as an alternative form of tourism during COVID-19 and afterwards, the study indicated the potential of virtual tours to be a primary destination marketing tool, one that can help visitors better design their itinerary routes and learn about local attractions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas