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South Korea has planned to attract a large number of travelers from Indian cities including Delhi. The 17th Asian Games being held in Seoul from September 19 may boost these plans.
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, there is a further 10% jump, said officials in Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO).
KTO, part of the South Korea government, has been active in Delhi and Mumbai because of direct air connectivity with Seoul, the capital, but it is now focusing on south India as well. South Korea expects 2 lakh Indians every year in the next five years with an average annual growth of 10%.
Byungsun Lee, director, KTO in India, told HT, “Right now we’re trying to focus on promoting leisure tourism from India to South Korea. We’re promoting Seoul and Jeju Island as twin destinations. We’re starting a joint campaign in Indian market.”
“We are expecting a big movement during Asian Games because of Indian youth’s growing interest in sports,” he said. KTO plans to market tourism around culture, food and entertainment. The attractions include: exotic beaches, museums, Yatch tours, water sports and Unesco heritage sites. Lotte World and Seoul Tower are major attractions.
“If travelers have a few hours of waiting time during stop over at Incheon International Airport, there is a free transit tour for them,” said another KTO official. KTO is trying to cash in on the growing popularity of Korean pop, food, dramas and movies in India.
(The writer’s recent trip to South Korea was sponsored by KTO)