SEOUL, Croatia is preparing to open an embassy in Seoul next month, spurred by an increased number of South Korean tourists there, a diplomatic source said Thursday.

"It's to open in Myeongdong in late October," the source said, referring to a bustling district in central Seoul.

It's expected to focus on handling consular affairs and expanding bilateral ties amid growing interest in the Eastern European country among South Koreans.

The Croatian embassy in Japan has covered major diplomacy on South Korea, which has an embassy in Zagreb, the Croatian capital. The two sides established diplomatic relations in 1992.

Croatia has a consulate here as diplomatic representation.

The number of South Koreans visitors to Croatia jumped to around 470,000 in 2017 from roughly 46,000 in 2012.

One catalyst for this increase was a 2013 travel-reality show titled "Sisters Over Flowers," aired on tvN, a South Korean cable television channel. It featured a group of female celebrities traveling there.

Croatia is also known as a filming location for HBO's Game of Thrones series.

Earlier this month, South Korea's flagship carrier Korean Air launched a regular flight service between Incheon and Zagreb. It operates a 218-seat passenger plane three times a week.

The Croatian foreign ministry and its embassy in Japan did not respond to an email query from Yonhap about the news.

Source: Yonhap News Agency