KNTO reported that about 217,000 people in their 20s visited Europe last year , about 10.6 percent of all Korean tourists visiting the region. However, this year, the numbers have increased to about 316,450, and the percentage of college students has increased as well to 25 percent.
This year, students chose Austria, Belgium, the U.K., Czechoslovakia, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland as the most favored tourist destinations.
However, students said that, although it was an interesting experience to travel, there were a number of unpleasant situations that they could never forget.
Oh Yoon-jin (German Language and Literature, 3) recalls, "While we were waiting to check in at a hotel in Switzerland, a man at the reception desk bluntly said that there were no rooms reserved for us. We told him that the reservation was already made in Korea before we left, but he started to throw keys at us, which we really didn"t understand." Oh says that she was surprised to find out that the dining room at the hotel was divided into two sections: one for westerners and another for Asians.
Kim Jin-woo (Kyunghee, 2) says, "My friend told me that he wound up paying for those sitting at the next table at a pub in Rome because the food they ate was included in his bill. Although it all happened because of a waitress"s mistake, the restaurant owner still urged him to pay for them." He concluded that everything resulted from communication difficulties.
Shin Ho-yong (SungKyunKwan, 3) pointed out, "Every travel destination was crammed with Korean tourists, because the majority of travel agents plan similar itineraries. It was difficult to book train tickets and hotel rooms, and some decided to leave early before more tourists surged into next destinations."
Most students who traveled this year said that they hadn"t realized that language barriers could affect them so tremendously. Kim pointed out that all students must learn English intensively.
They also agreed that it is important to be aware of the cultural and environmental differences of each country.
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