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Korea beyond meetings

A global country with flavours of rich history, state-of-the-art architecture, superior technology and an inventory of urban structures, Korea is perhaps an amalgamation of all things that a traveller looks for in his itineraries. In its first ever biggest road show in the India market, KTO saw the presence of all the leading stalwarts from India’s tourism circuit.

Text by Rachita Sehgal

India and Korea’s ties go back to the times when a Korean prince married an Indian princess, the two historically and culturally rich countries are prime destinations in their own way and today also, India receives a major chunk of tourists from Korea arriving into Ayodhya.

The Korea night hosted by KTO in Delhi at The Taj Palace, saw the participation of Seoul Tourism Organization, Incheon Tourism Organization and Gyeonggi Tourism Organization along with Korean Air, Air Asiana, Kim’s Travel, Premium Pass International, Hyundai Excursions etc. The morning saw the attendance of Indian travel trade partners, who visited the participants to understand the potential of MICE tourism in Korea.

The evening was a rather grand affair with insightful speeches by the VIP’s and dignitaries from both India and Korea, along with the Korea’s ambassador to India H E Cho Hyun and Choi Jong Hark, Vice President -KTO the evening of Korea night also saw stunning performances by the Korean troop- The Drawing show which certainly was a gripping show. And well, as all of us know that Korea is known for its hospitality; they did not let anybody leave without bouquet of gifts and lucky draws.

The aim of this grandeur event was to explore the MICE potential of Korea, and get an insight on the MICE tourism products Korea has to offer. More than 70 international airlines operate their flights to Korea from over 170 cities and there are several international airports throughout the regions. There are also express and intercity buses, metro buses and subways that make in between travels within Korea convenient. Korea’s efficient and inexpensive public transportation system is frequent, safe, and conveniently linked to major convention venues. And with recent announcement of Korean Air direct connectivity from Delhi to Incheon, Korea is all set to cater their Indian partners.

Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Tourism Organizations had their representatives to talk about their inventories, Convention centers and other MICE related products. In a one-on-one with Justin C B Park, Director, Meetings & Incentives Team, Korea Tourism Organization; Jin-Hyeok Park, Director, Seoul Convention Bureau, Seoul Tourism Organization; Hyun Kim, Director, MICE Division, Incheon Tourism Organization and Kang Dong-Han, Director, Gyeonggi MICE Bureau TTJ surveyed the various MICE options these organizations had to offer to the India market. Here’s what they have to say-

Justin C B Park, Director, Meetings & Incentives Team, Korea Tourism Organization: Korea is a country with many things to offer and our biggest strength lies in our MICE products. Recently Korea was amongst the top 10 MICE destinations around the world. In 2016 we received around 17 million MICE travellers, Korea is easily accessible from most major cities, providing convenience and a strategic advantage to MICE planners in search of a location compatible with their business.

Jin-Hyeok Park, Director, Seoul Convention Bureau, Seoul Tourism Organization: Seoul is one of the most popular Korean cities amongst the Indians. The number of Indian tourists to Seoul has definitely increased over the years and I am very positive that these numbers will keep climbing up the graph with each passing year. We have world class accommodations to offer with 180 Hotels that add up to 28,529 rooms. The city is also home to majestic royal palaces and historic buildings, such as Changdeokgung Palace Complex and Jongmyo Shrine, as well as Bukchon Hanok Village and Namsangol Hanok Village which preserve many traditional Korean houses or hanok. In addition, COEX, the largest underground shopping mall in Asia, is located near Seolleung the tomb of a king who ruled the Joseon Dynasty during the late 15th century. In Seoul, past and present coexist in harmony providing a variety of spectacles and attractions.

Hyun Kim, Director, MICE Division, Incheon Tourism Organization: Incheon airport has direct connectivity with both the Mumbai and Delhi International airports. Incheon is designated as a free economic zone based on its advanced infrastructure, including Incheon International Airport and Incheondaegyo Bridge, the city has been playing a pivotal role in logistics, business and leisure sports in Northeast Asia. In particular, Songdo is a planned city that specialises in international finance, trade, and the knowledge-based industry, and includes environmentally friendly residential areas. Songdo International City has further accelerated its development with the recent decision to accommodate the secretariat of the UN-operated Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the World Bank office.

Kang Dong-Han, Director, Gyeonggi MICE Bureau: Gyeonggi is a very well connected province from both Seoul and Incheon International airport, our convention center KINTEX is the 5th largest convention center in Asia and the largest in Korea Home to Suwon Hwaseong Fortress registered as an UNESCO World Heritage full of tourism resources with mountains, Bhuddist temples, nature sites and cultural/historical remains, galleries, golf courses and hot springs. The province also has many major business districts featuring well-appointed shopping malls. In addition, one of the largest industrial complexes in Korea has been established in Gyeonggi Province attracting the offices and plants of Korea’s leading conglomerates including Samsung and SK Hynix, and their logistics complex and many other industrial infrastructures. Most areas in Gyeonggi Province are within an hour’s drive from Seoul, providing optimal one-day travel course.