(CBN - Global) April 13 -- Mr. Song Joong-ki, the lead actor of a South Korean television romance that has become a phenomenal hit in China, has been appointed by the Korean Tourism Organization to be its promotional ambassador to China.
Mr. Song who appears in 'Descendants of the Sun,' a love story about a soldier and a surgeon caught up in a fictional war, met with South Korean President Park Geun-hye in his new capacity on April 11. The drama is the first TV series to broadcast simultaneously in the two countries.
Around six million Chinese tourists visited South Korea last year, accounting for more than 40 percent of the total number of foreign visitors to the country. More importantly, Chinese tourists tend to spend more when traveling in Korea. In 2015, each of them spent an average of USD2,200, more than twice that of other foreign tourists.
In China, 'Descendants of the Sun' is available through video-streaming site iQiyi.com. Views of the show reached almost 400 million after the fifth episode.
South Korea's tourism authorities, including the Korean Tourism Organization, manage celebrity endorsements by region, former KTO employee Ms. Zhou told CBN. Other celebrities have been appointed to promote the country in the European and American markets. In some cases, these 'ambassadors' are not showbiz personalities.