Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO), national tourism organisation of South Korea, is hopeful of tourism numbers bouncing back next year with tensions easing in the Korean Peninsula. There has been decline in tourist arrivals to Korea, especially from China and India, in the last few months on the back of the heightened border tensions between two Koreas. Minhong Min, Executive Vice President for International Tourism, KTO attributed the decline in Indian tourist numbers to the drop in arrivals of the Indian crew members of the Cruise ships calling at Korean ports. As Cruise ships, which are largely manned by Indian crew, stopped calling on Korean ports, there has been a fall in Indian visitor numbers to Korea. "Otherwise, number of leisure travellers have grown last year," he said. "With tensions easing we expect the crew numbers to grow next year," he said.
As part of strengthening the MICE travel from India, KTO has signed MoUs with major Korean companies which have strong India presence. These include Samsung, LG, and Hyundai. By signing MoU, KTO wants these companies to send their employees, dealers and other partners to Korea for meetings and incentives to Korea. "The idea is to cooperate with these companies and host their employees and dealers for travel programmes to Korea," said Jong Sool Kwon, Director, KTO-India.
Kwon said that three major travel segments that KTO planning to tap from India are MICE, VFR and Leisure. He said that they will be targeting key metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, etc. for marketing activities to lure more business travellers to Korea.
KTO also pins hopes on increased connectivity between the two countries. In place of six weekly connections till last year, there are 19 weekly flights connecting cities of Delhi and Mumbai with Korea right now.
To create consumer awareness about Korea in the market, KTO for the first time organised a 2-day Korea Culture and Tourism Festival at Ambience Mall, Gurgaon on November 25 and 26.