Asia Global News News South Korea Travel

South Korea Garners Merit as Optimal Travel Destination

With the growing dominance of the content industry over the past few years, soft, cultural power has shown a powerful influence in the global economy. A solid share of the influence has been claimed by the “Korean Wave,” with the Billboard-topping boy band BTS, the Oscar-winning film Parasite and Netflix’s most-watched series Squid Game taking the world by storm.

The spread of the Korean Wave into Korean food and beauty also indicates growing consumer demand for a diversity of experiences, lifestyles, collectibles and all types of Korean consumer goods.

South Korea’s highly developed infrastructure for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), with its world-class expo and convention centers, hotels and unique venues, has attracted a host of large-scale conferences and industrial events over the years.

Recognizing great potential in the currently rising “New Korean Wave,” the Korean tourism industry is developing and offering new tourism products for a more vivid experience of South Korea, including tours of its cultural heritage structured to tie into familiar themes from K-pop, and activities where they can experience and purchase Korean beauty and food products.

With the intent of developing South Korea into a top global tourist destination, the South Korean government is also providing incentives to travelers around the world who are pondering where to take their next vacation.

Incentivizing travel

The South Korean government currently supports conferences and industrial events held in South Korea and incentivizes travel to the country via benefit packages for planners, suppliers and participants in order to maintain a MICE industry that is sustainable and compliant with environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles and that maximizes tourist satisfaction.

Under the K-Incentive Fun Up Program, international visitor groups of 10 or more staying in South Korea for at least two nights on an incentive vacation or for a conference or industrial event are eligible for the respective benefits, including souvenirs, subsidies for admission to tourist attractions and performances, Korean cultural experience opportunities, special events, accommodation and transportation subsidies and welcome events.

Meanwhile, the K-Incentive Value Up Program is available to entities that hold a conference or industrial event of mid to large-scale in South Korea, as well as incentive travel groups and travel agencies.

The program also provides a preliminary inspection of planned offerings and rewards based on the total number of annual visitors to the country. Visitors to South Korea based on this preliminary inspection receive a subsidy for up to 30 percent of the expected total cost of travel in the country, including airfare, accommodation costs and airport lounge service costs depending on the number of visitors and their home country.

Based on the numbers of visitors they send to South Korea, travel agencies that qualify for rewards receive prize money, plaques or subsidized travel to the country for preliminary inspection of tourism offerings.

The K-Incentive Reward-Up Program, available to travel agencies that forward business or incentive travel groups to South Korea, provides rewards according to the cumulative number of forwarded visitors. Top performing travel agencies are given a special opportunity for subsidized production of promotional media content showing the benefits offered through business or incentive travel to South Korea.

In addition to the financial benefits, South Korea’s cultural experience, from real-life history to pop culture, are sure to attract visitors on their own.

Natural food with its own story

Lotus Tea, typically prepared at temples ⓒ Ko Su-kyung, Korea Tourism Organization.Lotus Tea, typically prepared at temples ⓒ Ko Su-kyung, Korea Tourism Organization

Studies on the appeal of Korean food to non-Korean consumers who eat it on a regular basis indicate they were attracted to foods that are healthy and rich in vegetables, and “temple food” is the perfect example of this healthy Korean cuisine.

Korean temple food is eco-friendly in terms of both its ingredients and preparation, an appealing trait to the rising number of health-conscious global visitors, while also capturing the eye and cleansing the palate with natural flavors, rich textures and beautiful colors.

A temple food experience in South Korea introduces visitors to the benefits and flavors of ingredients prepared to nourish the body alongside stories behind the ingredients and how they are sourced and prepared. Set in a soothing monastery away from the fast-paced modern life, the experience will allow visitors to savor the act of eating as well as the aesthetics of a slower paced environment.

The start of safer and healthier travel

Cherry Blossoms in full bloom at Maisan Provincial Park ⓒ Lee Jun-mo, Korea Tourism Organization.Cherry Blossoms in full bloom at Maisan Provincial Park ⓒ Lee Jun-mo, Korea Tourism Organization

South Korea offers a range of wellness programs to business and leisure visitors. Sancheong County in Gyeongsangnam-do Province, where the World Traditional Medicine Expo was held in 2013, embraces its regional heritage and natural resources and has positioned itself as a tourist resort town centered on the art of Korean medicine.

At Donguibogam Village, which is named after a famous book on traditional Korean medicine, visitors can try their hand at making aromatherapy sachets, experience traditional heat therapy with detoxifying virtues and enjoy forest walks that heal the senses.

Meanwhile, Jeju Island, a popular vacation destination for Chinese, Taiwanese and Southeast Asian visitors, offers a tea ceremony experience in a variety of settings, including a cypress forest, a refreshingly green tea field and the Jeju Oreum, which is an extinct volcanic cone. A traditional Korean tea ceremony experienced in a natural environment is sure to revitalize the body and mind. U5t

ejanggeum’ ⓒ Live Studio, Korea Tourism Organization.ejanggeum’ ⓒ Live Studio, Korea Tourism Organization

Fans of K-dramas will likely be familiar with the period drama Daejanggeum, the most successful K-drama of all time that has been exported to a total of 91 countries. With its 277-hectare production set in Yongin, a city in the greater Seoul area, Yongin Daejanggeum Park has been maintained as a permanent establishment for filming period pieces, hosting other K-drama titles such as Jumong, Lee San, Queen Seondeok, Dong Yi and The Moon Embracing the Sun, as well as the music video for Daechwita featuring Suga, a member of the world-famous K-pop boyband BTS. Yongin Daejanggeum Park is a must-see for K-pop and K-drama fans from around the world.

The structures in Yongin Daejanggeum Park have been verified by experts for historical and architectural accuracy, and provide visitors with an understanding of the different residential spaces, government buildings, palaces and streets of the Three Kingdoms Era, the Goryeo Era and the Joseon Era. There are also opportunities for visitors to try on traditional court apparel and take photos at photo zones, complete with the actual props used in drama production.

Source : TheJakartaPost