Korea could soon see shift in incentive tourism sector


Korea is bracing for a decline in the number
of Chinese travelers on incentive tours, who could stay away… over growing concerns about
the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system. According to our Oh Soo-young, the spillover
effect could hit Seoul’s tourism sector hard. Feasts of chicken and beer inspired by the
popular Korean drama “My Love from the Star” have been a hit with Chinese companies bringing
massive numbers of employees to Korea as part of incentive holiday packages. But with an anticipated decline in the number
of Chinese incentive tourists on the horizon, “chimaek” parties on the same scale could
soon be on hold. Some 130-thousand employees of Chinese corporations
visited Korea last year, often thousands at a time,… making up roughly 60 percent of
Korea’s incentive tourism industry. However, the Korea Tourism Organization says
that with Beijing’s opposition to Seoul’s decision to deploy an American missile defense
system on its soil, the resulting fallout is likely to wipe out the number of incentive
tourists from China by 20 percent from last year. At the same time, however, the number of incentive
tourists from Southeast Asian countries is expected to grow to 160-thousand this year
— a 20 percent increase from 2016. Some 11-hundred employees from an Indonesian
cosmetics giant are making a visit this month,… and in March, upwards of 800 incentive tourists
from a Singaporean nutrition company will vacation in Korea. To accommodate the recent change in tourism
dynamics, Korea is looking to diversify its incentive holiday programs by shifting away
from the kinds of mega-scale events that were designed for large groups of Chinese clients. The KTO said it will work to develop distinctive
marketing strategies and customized programs to attract tourists from Southeast Asia, Japan,
the Middle East and the Americas. Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.

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