Four Major Projects Being Pushed to Attract 10 Million Foreign Tourists
Thursday, February 4th, 2010
Shin Dong-bin, chairman of the VKC
The Visit Korea Year Committee (VKC) has been making a strong push for four major projects in 2010 to attract 10 million tourists a year, a top official of the committee said. "On the occasion of the 2010-2012 Visit Korea Year, the committee is exerting all-out efforts to herald the brand of South Korea to foreign countries and improve quality of the nation's tourism industry," Shin Dong-bin the chairman of the VKC, said.
In an interview with Korea IT Times, Shin said, "By doing so, we aim to attract more than 10 million foreign tourists every year, attain over US$13 billion in tourism revenue, and secure No. 21 position in terms of the global tourism competitiveness."
Related to this, the committee is actively pushing for four major projects this year – differentiated overseas marketing by market, affluent incentives for foreign tourists when they visit Korea, special events offering something to see and enjoy. There is also a campaign to improve greeting services for foreign tourists, which enables them to feel welcomed when they arrive in Korea.
Special Tourism Sales Promotion Team
"As an initial step, we will dispatch a special tourism sales promotion team to China and Japan to attract tourists from neighboring countries. We will also stage active PR marketing by holding regular explanatory meetings to introduce Korea's tourism resources to foreigners at overseas offices of Korea Tourism Organization," stated the VKC chairman.
In particular, he said, “The committee will engage in active promotion activity to help foreign tourists attend such global events to be held in South Korea such as the World Design Capital Seoul 2010, the World Championships in Athletics Daegu 2011 and International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012.”
Shin expressed, "Along with this, the committee will implement a program to decentralize foreign tourists centering on Seoul to provincial regions and attract more foreign tourists by offering incentives to shopping centers and lodging facilities." To let foreign tourists see the attractive appearances of provincial regions in the country, VKC has decided to hold the 2010 Hallyu Festival in Gyeongju, the World Food Tourism Festival in Jeonju, and Busan’s Fireworks Festival.
Shin stated, “For development of high-quality tourism products linked with the festivals, the committee is maintaining close tie-ups with relevant provincial governments.” He went on to say, "In addition, it will stage the welcoming service campaign for foreign tourists with the start of the inauguration of the Smile Supporters' group comprising college students."
Korea's Tourism Resources
For a successful Visit Korea Year, the committee plans to actively push for four major tourism areas such as medical services, meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE), ecology and performance – in which South Korea has strong competitiveness, Shin proclaimed.
"We can develop truly high-valued tourism products by promoting and spreading 'hallyu (the Korean wave),' image. For instance, Korean culture experience and products developed by hallyu's star Bae Yong-joon, that featured travelling to the most beautiful places in the country, were sold out even if the price was relatively high at KRW140,000-400,000," stated the VKC chairman.
When asked about the current situation of Korean culture's globalization and the brand value of South Korea. Shin said, "Korean culture's globalization now stands on a toddler stage. South Korea also ranks 42 in global tourism competitiveness, much lower than its neighboring countries. By publicizing the brand of South Korea to foreign tourists and promoting Korea's tourism image during the Visit Korea Year, we aim to jack up the nation's ranking of tourism competitiveness to 20 in the world."
Noting that major foreign countries are striving to attract more foreign tourists as a means of promoting their state image and bolster state competitiveness. Shin reinforced that South Korea is also necessary to increase the number of inbound foreign tourists in order to reduce deficits in the country's tourism balance and strengthen competitive power of the domestic tourism industry.
In line with this, Korea declared 2010-2012 as the Visit Korea Year at the Cabinet meeting to strengthen competitiveness of the domestic tourism industry, presided over by President Lee Myung-bak, on March 28, 2008.
"During the period, we will make best efforts to promote the image of South Korea to the world and implement a variety of short-term and long-term projects to attract more foreign tourists. In particular, we are seeking private companies' active participation in the campaign to lure more foreign tourists this year," said the chairman.
As an initial event for the Visit Korea Year 2010, the committee plans to hold an event welcoming foreign tourists. Under the project, VKC will present a bouquet of flowers to first foreign visitors at Incheon International Airport, Gimpo International Airport and Jeju International Airport.
Along with this, the committee will operate PR booths for foreign tourists at major tourist spots across the country, including Haeundae in Busan, Homigot in Pohang and Jeongdongjin in Gangnung, Shin concluded.