Foreign tourists visiting Korea are facing difficulties in navigating the country due to limitations in local map services. While Google Maps is widely used and offers comprehensive features in many countries, it is restricted in Korea due to national security regulations and business implications. Local alternatives like Naver Map and Kakao Map also have limitations, such as difficulty recognizing addresses in English and incomplete translations. These shortcomings are frustrating tourists who expect a high level of technological advancement from Korea, known for its K-culture phenomenon. The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism plans to make digital improvements to attract more tourists, but there is still a long way to go. Independent travelers, who make up a significant portion of tourists, often struggle with navigation and rely on multiple apps to get around. Naver Map, despite its extensive services, primarily caters to Korean-speaking users. The Korea Tourism Organization is working on translating and curating tourist locations for their VisitKorea platform, but it is not a comprehensive solution. Collaboration between tech giants like Naver and Google is necessary to overcome these challenges and create a reliable mapping system for international visitors. A fragmented mapping system could deter loyal travelers in the long run.
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