Cartoon series to be launched as part of tie-up to boost S'pore, South Korea tourism

Merli (left) will appear in a cartoon series that also features character Hojong (right) from the Korea Tourism Organisation.
Merli (left) will appear in a cartoon series that also features character Hojong (right) from the Korea Tourism Organisation.PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM VISIT SINGAPORE/YOUTUBE, IMAGINE YOUR KOREA/YOUTUBE

SINGAPORE - Merli has a new mission - to draw South Korean tourists to Singapore.

The character, which was unveiled by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in 2018, will appear in a cartoon series that also features character Hojong from the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO).

The series will be officially launched later as part of a video campaign to promote tourist attractions in both countries.

Vacations took a hit during the Covid-19 pandemic but fully vaccinated travellers can now fly between Singapore and South Korea without quarantine from Monday (Nov 15), under the Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme.

The cartoon series is part of a new partnership between KTO and STB, with the two signing a two-year memorandum of understanding on Monday (Nov 15).

The STB will support Korean start-ups through the Singapore Tourism Accelerator programme to develop technology and solutions, and pilot them within the tourism industry here.

The two organisations will progressively launch trips for trade and media partners to promote safe travel between both destinations.

KTO president Ahn Young-bae said: "We welcomed visitors from Singapore this morning. I am optimistic that this memorandum of understanding will play a key role in reviving tourism between both countries, and we are excited to welcome more Singapore travellers to South Korea."

Mr Keith Tan, chief executive of STB, said South Korea is a key source market for Singapore, and "as international travel gradually resumes, we look forward to welcoming South Korean visitors back".

"We are confident that this partnership with KTO will drive awareness of Singapore's new and reimagined offerings, expand the capabilities of our industry, and support the overall recovery of our tourism sector," he added.

Last year, STB and Studio Dragon, a South Korean company, signed a three-year partnership to promote Singapore through the production of Korean dramas here.

In 2019, Singapore received about 646,000 South Korean visitors.