Korea to host large-scale international travel fair in June


Hundreds of representatives from travel agencies around the world will gather for a large-scale international travel fair next month to share with ideas and strategies to lure more travelers to Korea.

The Visit Korea Committee, an organization leading the drive, said it will hold the 2011 Korea International Travel Mart (KITM) at the COEX and Lotte Hotel World in southern Seoul from June 1 to 5.

It will invite tourism officials and heads of travel agencies not only from China and other Asian countries, but also from North America, Oceania and Europe. The committee expects the fair to provide a fresh impetus to enliven the local industry.

“Typical travel fairs here have been targeting mainly outbound Korean travelers by providing them with information on overseas tour destinations and travel packages. But 2011 KITM is designed to attract foreign tourists by promoting the domestic tourism industry,” said Han Kyung-ah, executive director of the committee.

With 200 heads of travel agencies abroad scheduled to take part in the upcoming event, the committee plans to provide them with information on a range of tourist spots, lodging facilities, eateries and other hospitality-related infrastructures in the country, she said.

“They will be paired with Korean counterparts to develop joint tour packages and exchange opinions on ways to increase the number of inbound travelers to Korea,” Han said. “I am positive that the 2011 KITM will become a genuine travel mart for all inbound, outbound and intra-bound tourists.”

On June 1, KITM will kick off with an opening ceremony at the Lotte Hotel World, attended by Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Choung Byoung-gug, Visit Korea Committee Chairman Shin Dong-bin and Korea Tourism Organization President Lee Charm, among others.

On the following day, the committee will hold a series of presentations on overall Korean tourism, including upcoming festivals and events, for international participants.

In particular, the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Championships Daegu 2011, Formula One Korea Grand Prix in Yeongam and the 2012 Yeosu Expo will be showcased in depth.

Additionally, there will be a business-to-business (B2B) travel mart in which heads of foreign travel agencies can connect with their Korean counterparts.

“During the B2B session, more than 150 international participants will be able to develop and introduce a range of high-end travel packages and other products, tailored to suit the unique preferences of each nationality. On the third day, international KITM attendees will depart on a familiarization tour of various exciting regions of Korea to help them develop related travel products,” Han said.

Tour destinations include Busan, Incheon, Daegu, Gyeonggi Province Gangwon Province, Chungcheong Provinces, Jeolla Provinces and Gyeongsang Provinces and Jeju Island.

The executive director said the majority of inbound foreign tourists eat, shop and stay in and around Seoul, putting heavy pressure on the capital city’s tourism infrastructure.

“We need to make a greater effort to promote tour attractions in provincial areas and send international travelers to every corner of the country. To do so, municipal administrations should take a more active approach toward promoting tourism assets and drawing visitors,” she stressed.