Webinar spotlights India’s connect with the Korean wave

With mass vaccination, South Korea hopes to achieve herd immunity by end September, facilitating travel

Travelling to South Korea, “K-dramas”, “K-beauty” and Korean cuisine came under the spotlight at a webinar on ‘The rising Korean wave in India and how it will influence post-pandemic travel to South Korea’ on Thursday. The webinar was curated by The Hindu Weekend for The Hindu in association with Korea Tourism Organisation, and delved into the various facets of South Korean culture which has found new fans over the last year.

Speaking about the Korean language learning boom, Rathi Jafer, Director, InKo Centre, who also moderated the webinar, recalled how, in 2006, people registered to learn the language solely for reasons of employment. “Today, it is to follow what their idol is singing or their favourite star is saying. There’s always a waiting list [for the language classes] now,” she shared.

Scherezade Shroff, fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle content creator said that K-dramas provided a holistic viewing experience and spoke about the strong messaging that many shows had. “The shows are subtly bringing in important conversations about mental health or sexual harassment at work. You can’t watch it and ignore [such topics], or the food, fashion and lifestyle. It is all packaged so well,” she said.

Chef Vikramjit Roy, a panelist, showed the audience white kimchi, the flavourful, non-spicy dish made with cabbage and seasonal vegetables, and gochujang, the savoury-sweet red chilli paste that goes into bibimbap, and a host of other Korean dishes.

“I am fascinated by how people are using K-beauty and its detailed regimens as a method of self care, to ground themselves, to overcome anxiety,” said singer and entrepreneur Chinmayi Sripada, who started Isle of Skin, an e-portal to bring her favourite K-beauty brands into India. She said that the way Korean products remain in touch with their traditions of herbal medicine reminded her of Ayurveda and its place in our lifestyle.

For the many people waiting to travel to South Korean, Sandeep Dutta, marketing manager, Korea Tourism Organisation said that there was plenty to look forward to, including dedicated tours to locations that have featured in K-dramas and K-pop videos.

“Mass vaccination is ongoing in the country, and South Korea hopes to achieve herd immunity by the end of September. They are also launching vaccine passports by the end of this month. So by the end of this year, hopefully, travel can happen without quarantine,” he added.

Young-Geul Choi, Director, Korea Tourism Organisation, in his closing address, speaking about post-pandemic travel, said that he hoped to see everyone in South Korea soon.

Check out the full session on YouTube, on the THEME-The Hindu page – https://bit.ly/3na9LvG, or scan the QR code.

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