South Korea builds confidence within Indian holidaymakers

South Korea has been applauded worldwide for being one of the few nations to have successfully flattened the curve without a single lockdown.

South Korea has been applauded worldwide for being one of the few nations to have successfully flattened the curve without a single lockdown. In an exclusive interaction with BW HOTELIER, Jong Sool Kwon, Director of Korea Tourism Organization highlights how South Korea holds a large market share of Indian visitors and how these numbers are growing year on year.

Kindly throw light on the current status and popularity of Korea as a tourist destination in India. 

The coronavirus pandemic has affected every industry and the entire world is leaving no stone unturned to get back on track. With every country focusing on safety, hygiene and sanitization, South Korea has been applauded worldwide for being one of the few nations to have successfully flattened the curve without a single lockdown. Owing to this, we have gained popularity and trust amongst Indian travellers & well-travelled audience and positioned the destination as one adhering to all safety and precautionary guidelines. 

Moreover, India is a strong market for us. South Korea holds a large market share of Indian visitors and these numbers are growing year on year. By discovering more content and ways of ensuring the safety of tourists in cooperation with local governments and relevant authorities; we have built confidence within Indian holidaymakers to come visit the country once international tourism resumes.

What is your marketing plan and strategy to bolster your share in Indian outbound market? 

Korea Tourism Organization will continue to deliver significant results in driving awareness and conversion for the Indian market. We are conducting a range of trade associations to promote our products and regions. Our plan is to further strengthen presence in the India market through series of webinars for the tourism & trade segment, to be well aware of all that South Korea has to offer - including a safe and renewed travel experience. 

To remain at the top of the Indian traveller’s mind during these times, we are going digital with the launch of our new consumer initiative campaign #TakeMeBackToKorea. We have conceptualized the campaign to engage people across India and remind them about the beauty and uniqueness of travelling to South Korea. With carefully, curated strategies in place, safety measures and abundant private locations to explore, we look forward to welcoming visitors to our abode soon. 

What are the important destinations in Korea that can attract Indian travellers? 

For the Indian market, the destinations and offerings mentioned below provide an array of features that provide unique and immersive experiences, where the Indian traveller can explore everything from World Heritage sites, Instagram-worthy locations to traditional Korean cuisine and secluded places. Each experience has its own distinct personality and caters to the needs of the Indian market with a host of activities. 100 Untact Attractions have also been announced recently, the concept of untact embraces the changing trends in the economy and refers to an increase of online interaction and a decrease in person-to-person interaction. Visitors will be able to travel safely in these less crowded attractions as well as have a healing experience in nature. These 100 attractions are selected according to the following criteria; must be less known, have themed attractions for solo travelers and families alike, be outdoors, and can only accept a limited number of visitors in order to practice social distancing.

Additionally, a recent announcement to promote night tours is one of their most creative steps by the government to revive the growing tourism industry. South Korea has a good environment for developing night tours as it is known for its safe streets and 24-hour stores available nationwide. They are encouraging people to utilize the quieter hours after the sun- sets and witness the vibrancy of South Korea in the non-rush night hours.

The Country has also introduced Safe and Healthy Wellness tours. These nature-friendly attractions are ideal to heal both body and mind once the coronavirus crisis is over. The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization has newly selected nine wellness tourism attractions with four main themes; nature & forest healing, beauty & spa, healing & meditation, and medicinal herbs. 

Seoul being one of the most populous cities in the region, is also home to numerous attractions and night tour programmes that are less crowded and impressive. Famous landmarks, towers and stunning architectural masterpieces, such as the N Seoul Tower and Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain are guaranteed to take your breath away. For a safe, cultural experience, one can discover the UNESCO listed treasures such as Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung palaces to witness the unparalleled collection of artefacts and glimpse into its historic roots. 

As social distancing will continue to be a norm, health safety will be of critical importance. Owing to the current situation, visitors will opt for travelling in private vehicles as an alternative to crowded, community transport. Korea offers self-drives at the exotic Jeju Island, a safe choice for families or couples to explore the island’s scenic routes and get a taste of nature at its best. No matter which part of Jeju you choose to visit, be rest assured to enjoy a remote, stress-free and relaxing retreat!

As an extension of nature trails, South Korea, offers a plethora of breath-taking parks and forests where you can wander in a peaceful, isolated and invigorating atmosphere.

The popular historical & cultural sights have opened their doors for tourists and visitors in South Korea, just months after their suspension due to the virus. We are being taking various precautions such as limiting the maximum number of visitors to 1,000 people, requiring online reservations, and QR code entrance records. 

Which new destination places have come up in Korea? 

Gimhae, a region close to Busan where Indian Princess Heo got married to Korean Prince Suro is an intriguing destination for Indian travellers to visit, which showcases the shared bond that Korea and India enjoy. From historic temples and fortresses, theme parks, to strawberry farms and a wine cave; Gimhae lends itself as an iconic destination for Indian travellers.

Historical UNESCO regions like Gyeongju shed light on the city’s rich heritage, with sites like Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju National Museum, Cheomseongdae Observatory, ideal for Indian travellers to wander in.

Besides, on visiting Korea, a Hanok Stay (Korean traditional house accommodation) in Jeonju will be a preferred choice of stay as it lends an authentic Korean experience with thorough privacy for tourists. Here, one can attain tranquillity and enjoy a secluded stay and minimal interaction with service staff, leaving all worries behind.

How are hotels in Korea planning to lure back customers after the pandemic? How have they ensured all precautions have been taken to prevent Covid 19?

Various contingency measures are thought-through and being executed. Hotels are implementing promotions and packages to drive bookings & F&B sales, developing new F&B business models and keeping safety, sanitization & social distancing measures as a top priority. 

What is the future of hospitality in your destination?

These are the most challenging times in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry, but we are sure to recover and come back stronger than before. Hotels in Korea are identifying signs of recovery from the pandemic as well as adapting their outlook of the market in the new normal. They are certainly following every measure and ensuring travellers feel safe and welcomed.

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South Korea Tourism Korea Tourism Organization


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