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Korea pushes for more Thai tourists

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET CITY: The Bangkok office of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), Korean Air and Sun Moon Tours & Travel joined forces to promote Thai tourism to Korea with an industry event at The Metropole Hotel on Thursday.

Kang Sung-Ghil, Director of the KTO’s Bangkok Office said, “Phuket is one of our main markets for MICE [meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions], especially incentives. Therefore, from now on, we must come here more often to give updated information about Korea.

“The event provided useful information about major international trade fairs and tourism attractions in Korea to help in planning incentive tours or educational trips to Korea, as well as pleasure tours.

“We also provided information to encourage travel agents to include Korea in regular tour programs. We would like to encourage travel agents here to become Korea tour specialists in this region,” he said.

“Our aim is to increase the number Thai tourists visiting Seoul and locations where Korean dramas are filmed, such as Jejudo Island, where the drama Jung Geum is filmed. Korean dramas are very popular with Thai people,” he explained.

“Seoul is the number one attraction, as it is the heart of Korea, but Jejudo Island is also popular; it is much like Phuket, but has four seasons,” he added.

Mr Kang explained that last year some 130,000 Thai tourists visited Korea – a 30% increase in the number of Thai tourists to Korea on the previous year. “People in Phuket and nearby provinces can travel to Korea direct from Phuket as Korean Air operates regular direct flights from Phuket to Incheon International Airport.

“About 70% of Korea’s geography is mountainous. Most Thai tourists visit Korea in the winter,” he said.

Tourism travel between the two nations are not equally balanced, however.

Last year about 1.1 million Korean tourists visited Thailand, Mr Kang said. “The flights also benefit Phuket tourism as they bring thousands of Korean tourists to Phuket and nearby areas every week,” he said.

“Now, in the low season, we have four direct flights a week from Seoul to Phuket and four direct flights a week from Incheon to Phuket, all flown by Korean Air. I think this is the same number of flights provided by Thai Airways.

“In the high season we will also have charter flights,” said Mr Kang.

“Phuket is good destination for Korean tourists, who love snorkeling, fishing and especially eating Thai food. This is a warm place for Korean tourists to visit,” he added.


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