South Korea's latest hit drama is inspiring new travel hotspots and influencing what people throughout Asia wear, eat and buy.
The South Korean drama, or K-drama, "My love from the Star", stars Gianna Jun – best known for her lead role in the Hollywood film "Blood: The Last Vampire" – and Kim Soo Hyun. The romantic comedy, which blends science fiction and fantasy elements and tells of the encounter between an actress and an alien stranded on Earth, has taken Asia by storm.
"[The] Korean government made significant efforts to develop cultural industries as one of the nation's building strategies since the 1990s," Dr. Sangkyun Kim, senior lecturer in the Department of Tourism at Flinders University said.
"Deregulation in media policies, economic development and the proliferation of internet have also promoted the rapid growth of K-pop culture in Asia," he added.
The tourism pull
Hallyu – the Korean term for the popularity of South Korean culture abroad – has boosted the country's tourism sector. Inbound arrivals jumped 9.3 percent on year to a record 12.2 million visitors in 2013, statistics from the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) show.
The KTO has noted an increase in queries related to the drama from tourists and trade partners since the drama ended its run in February, a Singapore-based representative told CNBC.
The show's filming locations have received a surge in interest from Chinese holidaymakers, according to South Korean media, perhaps not surprising considering that the drama chalked up over 2.5 billion views in the mainland.