Pokemon Go Glitch Spurs Tourism Boom for South Korean City
Photo courtesy of Pokemon Go on YouTube.
While most of South Korea has been left out of the Pokemon Go mania currently sweeping the world, the seaside city of Sokcho has benefited immensely.
That's because it's the only place in the country where gamers can catch the coveted Pokemon characters on their smartphones.
According to the Associated Press, South Korea's government restricts Google Maps service for security reasons. But because of map glitches, characters appear in and around Sokcho, a city of less than 100,000 located in South Korea's Gangwon Province.
Already the impact of Pokemon Go on Sokcho tourism has been huge.
Based on data from hotel booking website Interpark Tour, the Yonhap news agency revealed that the city saw four times as many hotel room bookings July 12-13 than it did on the same days the previous week.
READ MORE: How Many Hotels Are Embracing Pokemon Go?
Glitch or not, the city is embracing the craze. The AP reported local restaurants, hotels and businesses are using photos of Pokemon monsters and offering free gifts to attract players.
What's more, the city's mayor has pledged to increase free Wi-Fi hotspots and battery-charging stations to make the area even more conducive to Pokemon Go.
Travel agencies are also capitalizing on the trend, launching Pokemon-themed tour packages to Sokcho, per the AP.
"Maybe it's a hole," Seoul-based developer Leonardo YongUk Kim told the AP, referring to the possible glitch. "Maybe they just left it thinking that no one would play (the game) in North Korea, but somehow Sokcho was included there accidentally."
More by Patrick Clarke
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