QR codes help tourists

A passerby scans a QR code placed on the pavement on a street in Garosu Street in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul, with her smart phone. The QR code directs users to a mobile website that provides information about nearby tourist attractions. / Courtesy of Gangnam-gu Office

Gangnam install 8 on-pavement markers for visitors to get around

Gangnam has installed quick response (QR) codes on the sidewalks of major tourist destinations to “help” visitors navigate the upscale southern district of Seoul referred to in Psy’s international hit “Gangnam Style.”

It is the first time that QR codes have been used for this purpose in South Korea, one of the world’s most wired countries.

The district office said Monday that oversized QR codes have been installed on eight spots on sidewalks in Sinsa-dong and Samseong-dong to help people find their way around.

Four are installed in Garosu Street in Sinsa-dong and another four are set up near the COEX building in Samseong-dong. The QR codes were placed on the pavements last Thursday.

By scanning the on-ground QR code with a smartphone, people will be able to access information about tourist spots in the vicinity, including shopping and dining facilities.

The information on the mobile website is identical to that included on printed pamphlets and in brochures.

The QR codes at the COEX and Garosu Street provide information in English, Chinese, and Japanese.

“The QR code system had been under development since earlier last year as the current print-based promotion had its limitations in providing up-to-date information about the district,” said an official from the district office.

“There have been cases where QR codes were used for promotional purposes on printed material like posters and brochures but this is the first time they have been installed on a block on a sidewalk.”

The district office hopes the service will provide a unique and fun experience for foreigners visiting the district as many are heading there thanks to Psy’s Gangnam Style.

The song is now YouTube’s most-viewed video with more than a billion views. It also ranked second on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for seven consecutive weeks.

“We are considering expanding the number of sites with QR codes,” said the official. “If the QR codes are met with a positive response, we will install more near Gangnam Station and Rodeo Street in Apgujeong-dong.

“We are considering offering a voice information service where the QR code directly leads to a voice website or immediately starts a voice service when scanned,” the official said.

“We will also include additional location-based content with information on nearby shopping centers, hotels, restaurants and other tourist sites,” he said. <The Korea Times/Yun Suh-young>

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