South Korea has designated the K-pop girl band NewJeans as 'honorary ambassadors' to boost tourism, following in the footsteps of numerous Korean celebrities who have held the position. This year, the country's tourism numbers have nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels, with about one-third of tourists attributing their visit to K-pop or K-dramas, known as the 'Hallyu' or Korean wave. Culture minister Yu In-chon noted that tourist arrivals are at 'about 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.' He expressed optimism that 'with NewJeans as tourism ambassadors, I expect even more people from all over the world to visit Korea.' The group will act as ambassadors without diplomatic duties for a year, succeeding previous ambassadors like 'Squid Game' star and Emmy-winner Lee Jung-jae and K-pop megastars BTS.

Band members offered personal tips for visitors, recommending 'gimbap dipped in tteokbokki sauce' and adhering to the 'unspoken rule among young Korean generations' of taking 'a photo a day.' Last year, over 11 million tourists visited South Korea, a 245 percent increase from 2022, with Chinese and Japanese tourists constituting the majority. NewJeans recently hosted their first fan meet at the Tokyo Dome, marking the fastest Tokyo Dome debut for any foreign artist, with tickets selling out quickly. Their Japanese debut single 'Supernatural' has sold over a million copies, making it their fifth million-seller.