Wednesday, November 04, 2009

[News] Tourism Board to Prioritize 'Visit Korea' Campaign

By Do Je-hae
Staff Reporter

An ambitious state campaign to attract more than 10 million tourists to Korea will be the main focus of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) next year, KTO chief Lee Charm said, ahead of the campaign's official launching ceremony on Nov. 11 in Seoul.

``The underlining theme of all of our major projects will be the 2010-2012 Visit Korea Year' project,'' the KTO president said during a recent interview with The Korea Times. ``We will send promotional teams to Japan, China and Southeast Asia and will design hallyu events and festivals to disseminate our efforts.''

In an attempt to become a tourism superpower in Asia, Korea has launched a ``Visit Korea Year'' initiative once again. The last was held in 2001-2002 when Korea co-hosted the World Cup finals.

``Through a successful campaign, we hope that the nation's tourism revenue will reach over $10 billion and that Korea will enter the list of top 20 countries in a survey of tourism competitiveness,'' Lee said. Currently, it is ranked 31st in the 2009 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Japan has already shown a keen interest in the campaign. Ahead of the domestic launch, it recently promoted the Visit Korea 2010-2012 campaign at the Tokyo Dome with more than 40,000 participants.

The campaign, first announced last year, is promoted by goodwill ambassador Kim Yu-na, the 2009 world champion in ladies figure skating, and Korean actor and superstar
Bae Yong-joon.

To bring more professional expertise to the campaign, a special committee has been set up and Lee serves as its vice chairman. The committee is led by Lotte Group Vice Chairman Shin Dong-bin. The committee's main responsibility is to promote the merits of Korean tourism to visitors from outside the country, particularly the 2012 Yeosu Expo and the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu.

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