Interviews

‘The brand image of Korea is gaining momentum in India’

In recent years, South Korea Tourism has
enhanced its focus in Indian market. While the country is known to attract a
large number of business travelers, it is gradually positioning itself as an
enticing destination across segments.

In recent years, South Korea Tourism has
enhanced its focus in Indian market. While the country is known to attract a
large number of business travelers, it is gradually positioning itself as an
enticing destination across segments.

In 2013, 1.23 lakh people travelled from
India — mainly from Delhi and Mumbai — to South Korea, up by 33% compared to
2012. This year, till July, a further 10% jump was recorded.

In order to reorganize its tourism
initiatives, Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) recently announced a new
promotional slogan “Imagine your Korea” along with a new logo. The idea behind the
change was to position the country as an aspirational destination.

India Tourism Review talks to Mr.
Byungsun Lee, Director, Korea Tourism Organization in India
, to learn more
about the planned activities and campaigns which would further increase the
board’s penetration among Indian outbound travel trade.

How important is Indian market for
you? Give us segment-wise (business, adventure, luxury etc.) insights.

India is one of the most important markets
for us as Indian outbound traveler which has recorded an average growth
rate of 10% for the past 5-6 years and is predicted to touch 50 million
outbound travelers (UNWTO) by 2020. Korea is an untapped holiday destination
for the Indian market and hence there is a sense of curiosity in the minds of
the Indian traveler. We are set to promote Korea to the niche, potential
traveler for the leisure and MICE market.

The majority of Indian traffic to Korea today
comes from business while Indian families and honeymooners are yet to consider
Korea as a family destination. Our aim is to change their perception.

Share with us your expectation
from Indian market.

We are quite optimistic that coming winter
and Summer Season will be an eye opener for Indian traveler and will continue
the growth from India.  

There are many good winter attractions for
honeymooners and families like Fun Skiing even in Night, Gondola, Snow
Sculpture Village, Snow Sled, and Indoor Snow Park etc. 

We are focusing on the Indian honeymooners
and “Jeju Island – Without Visa” is the perfect
honeymoon destination for honeymooners during winters as well as in summers.

K-POP is getting famous among Indian youth
and we are getting phenomenal response from them. The brand image of Korea is
gaining momentum in India thanks to the strengthening Korean Wave. I believe
our special efforts like K-POP Festival contribute to creating genuine interest
about Korea and eventually induce many K-POP fans to visit Korea in the future.

We are expecting a good amount of movement
from Indian School & University students as we are promoting study tour and
Industry tours packages in India.  

The shifting attitude from the Indian
Business women and Senior Citizens toward outbound travelling is also
motivating trend for us to position them as the major target customers for next
year.

You
have launched a new slogan and logo. Tell us about it. How do you plan to
orient your campaigns around this new development?

Korea is well known for its Industrial image
but there are many options for tourists too. Our new Brand Logo “Imagine your
Korea” will establish a unique image about Korea as Tourist Destination. I am
very confident that Korea will fulfill all your imagination towards the pure
Leisure Destinations. We have done joint promotion with NDTV Goodtime for
showcasing Seoul, Jeju and Busan under the “Imagine Your Korea” brand. The show
has been aired in NDTV Goodtimes 16 times so as to reinforce our brand in
Indian market.  We have planned many activities for the trade as well as
for the consumers under the same brand.

How
do you look at the digital space as a media to promote tourism? Also, tell us
your take on promoting destinations by tying up with Indian film industry.

It is very easy and convenient way to reach
the target audience in short time and we have been doing in Google, Yahoo and
Facebook to get the maximum outreach in the market. At present our focus is on
display medium and we will go forward for the content marketing and exploring
best of best platform to showcase Korea Brand for Leisure as well as for MICE.

Indian Bollywood Industry is one of the major
Film Industry we are targeting in Indian Market. We realize the importance and
to reach the Indian film industry, we are working on our plans to encourage
Indian producers and studios to film in Korea. Shooting at this picturesque
destination is a treat by itself and we will guarantee subsidies that would
attract the Indian filmmakers.  We are providing useful and detailed
guidelines to the guests from the film fraternity for film shooting prospects
in Korea.

Brief
us on your recent and planned activities with regard to promoting Korea among
Indian travel trade, also with regard to 17th Asian Games.

With regards to the 17th Asian
Games Incheon 2014 we have launched package with Make My Trip for
Indians.  Apart from this we have been publishing the articles in the
leading newspaper to create awareness among the travellers.  We have
prepared our travel agents with all the information related to the Asian Games
and package for them to share with their clients. We have been sending the Asian
Games Information to all the Games Association for the participants and their
families.

Give us an overview on the
status of connectivity and visa-related process meant for Indian tourists
planning a vacation in Korea. How conducive is the entire procedure and are you
taking steps to simplify and facilitate an easy movement?

On connectivity, Korean Air operates 3
flights per week from Mumbai to Incheon International Airport. Asiana Airline
also operates 3 flights per week from Delhi to Incheon International Airport.
And also, Air India flies 4 times per week from Delhi to Incheon International
Airport via Hong Kong.

We are focusing at lot on promoting Jeju
Island – Visa Free Destination
 and we have joined hands with Cathay
Pacific which is already operating from 6 cities in India and has special fare
from Delhi/Mumbai to Hong Kong/Jeju/India for our consortium members (Akbar
Holidays Pvt. Ltd., Cox & Kings, Ezeego One Travel and Tours Limited,
Kesari Tours Pvt. Ltd., Orbitz Corporate & Leisure Travels (I) Pvt. Ltd.).

Equally, we are in touch with other Airlines
to bring attractive Korean package for Indians.

Visa procedure has been simplified in terms
of documentation and procedure as per the followings details –

 Application Form (Dully filled by
Applicant)

·         2
Passport size photographs

·         Valid
passport

·         1
yr. Income tax return or (In absence of Income Tax Return please provide
explanatory note with 6 months bank statement)

·         Processing
Time – 4 – 5 working days

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