There are not many travel trade familiarisation trips where participants are invited to dress up in national dress, before being treated to a guided tour of an UNESCO world heritage site by the CEO of the tourist board, whilst being filmed for several national TV news channels. Well this unique opportunity presented itself to a group of 40 UK travel operators, agents and press when they were invited to Korea in mid-November by the Korea Tourism Organisation in London.
The group’s itinerary included key cities, taking in the capital Seoul, the port city of Busan and the UNESCO heritage area of Gyeongju known as ‘the museum without walls’. The 300kmph KTX high-speed train whisked guests between locations, making sure there was time to enjoy Seoul’s vibrant Gwangjang market, Gyeongbokgung Royal Palace and the De-militarised Zone (DMZ) dividing North and South Korea; Busan’s famous Jagalchi fish market and UN Memorial Cemetery; and Korea’s most famous temple ‘Bulguksa’ in Gyeongju.
Ramy Salameh, PR Manager of the Korea Tourism Organisation said “this is the first time we have taken such a large group of travel agents, tour operators and press to South Korea and is a reflection of the rapid development and popularity of tourism to our destination from the UK”.
The group flew with Asiana Airlines from London Heathrow and were impressed with the quality and service. There was even time to be shown around the award-winning Incheon International Airport.
“I've already given a presentation to my staff, who were overjoyed by the peanut butter dried squid that I brought back. It was a good talking point with customers as well. Hopefully we should be able to push more interest in Korea to our customers “Stewart Hazell, STA Store Manager, Leeds