Seoul is a popular tourist destination for
foreigners and a major cultural hub in Asia… but the Korean government is trying to diversify
its attractions by introducing a variety of unique tourist programs.
Kim Ji-yeon followed some tourists traveling to some of Korea’s provincial regions for
this report. Korea has launched a bus service catering
to foreign tourists to promote tourism in the country’s provincial regions.
Organized by the Visit Korea Committee, the K-Travel Bus package offers convenient services
at a low price. For an overnight trip, packages can range
from 150 to 170 U.S. dollars per person. This group of ten tourists had the chance
to visit Korea’s southern city of Tongyeong. “This is my first time in Tongyeong and it’s
what I felt in Busan. I fell in love right away. Everything has been prepared for you,
the food, the transportation and everything even the guide is also there to help you with
the explanation if there’s no English translation. It’s great.” “One of the best things about this program
is that we are able to bond with other foreign tourists during the trip. I would definitely
recommend the bus travel program to acquaintances back in my home country.” Another rising trend in the local tourism
sector that is attracting large groups of foreigners …is “incentive travel” in which
foreign companies send employees on vacation to Korea as a reward for their hard work. “Six-thousand visitors from China, the largest
number of tourists to visit Korea at a time, have been divided into groups to see this
tourist attraction in Song-do, Incheon city.” Attracting incentive travel is a major focus
for the local tourism sector due to potentially huge profitability for the regions. “The 6-thousand Chinese tourists visiting
as a result of incentive travel is estimated to generate 10-point-3-million U.S. dollars
for the city of Incheon. It also helps boost the image of the city as a tourist destination…
and offers foreigners another destination besides the traditional tourist regions of
Jeju Island and the capital Seoul.” To attract large numbers of tourists like
Incheon has… the professor says that provincial cities need to devise ways to accommodate
tens of thousands of tourists at a time and provide large venues for recreation as well
as dining options. The professor also says there’s a need for
better cultural content and exhibition programs that are unique to each region.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.