June 25, 2024

Greek and Korean tourism professionals at the Korea Tourism Roadshow. Photo © Greek Travel Pages

Greek travel agencies specializing in outbound travel recently had the opportunity to get to know and explore the tourism products of South Korea during an informative networking event in Athens.

The “Korea Tourism Roadshow in Greece” took place in late May and was organized by the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) in cooperation with the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO).

During the event, Korea’s tourism offerings were introduced to Greek travel agents by Korean tour operators aiming to boost the East Asian country’s appeal as a holiday destination in the Greek market.

Speaking during the event, KTO Balkan Director Cho HyunCho said the roadshow was sure to strengthen bilateral tourism relations between Greece and Korea, and also create new opportunities for Greek travel agencies.

Korean Tourism Organization’s Balkan Director Cho HyunCho. Photo © Greek Travel Pages

HyunCho highlighted that while Korea is a popular destination for business travel, it also promotes other forms of tourism, including leisure, wellness, health, cultural, and beauty trips. Particularly in the latter form of tourism, Korea is emerging as a leader among other Asian countries.

According to Korean tour operators, the country provides top-tier beauty and plastic surgery services, attracting travelers interested in enhancing their image from all over the world, especially from neighboring countries.

Greek arrivals to Korea on the rise

Yunus Can, Assistant Manager at the KTO’s branch in Istanbul presenting the data during the event. Photo © Greek Travel Pages

Data shared during the event indicated that in 2019, 9,956 Greek travelers visited South Korea. However, as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, travel significantly declined in the following years. By 2023, 7,839 Greek travelers were recorded, marking a substantial recovery of 80.4 percent from the pandemic’s impact.

Following the positive trend, in the first quarter of 2024, 2,270 Greeks were recorded to have visited South Korea compared to 1,700 in the same period in 2023, showing an increase of 41.9 percent.

“This data proves that Korea has big potential in the Greek tourism sector,” noted Yunus Can, Assistant Manager at the KTO’s branch in Istanbul.

Meanwhile, the findings indicated that in 2019, Greek male visitors comprised 81 percent and female visitors 19 percent. These percentages changed in 2023, with women increasing to 31 percent, while men showed a slight decline to 69 percent.

Apart from Greece, the main tourism markets for South Korea are the US, Singapore, Australia, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

South Korea’s tourism offerings

During the “Korea Tourism Roadshow in Greece”, tour operators gave various presentations of the Asian country, highlighting that it is known for adopting a technologically advanced lifestyle while maintaining its age-old traditions. The contrast is present in South Korea’s architecture and cities, as well as in the daily lives of residents and cultural events.

According to the Korean tour operators, South Korea is a key business travel destination. Its tourism offerings cater to every professional need, including MICE events management, team-building and gala dinner programs, entertainment, business meeting arrangements, and sightseeing for large groups.

On the other hand, travelers visiting for leisure can enjoy:

Interesting buildings and monuments of local architecture 

Gyeongju Donggung Palace. Photo source: KTO

The country features impressive buildings inspired by Korean arts, characterized by naturalistic tendencies, simplicity, organic shapes, and minimal exterior and interior decoration. Additionally, travelers will discover a unique tapestry of architectural styles from modern skyscrapers to traditional houses and villages.

From ancient fortresses to serene temple monasteries, Korea has a wide range of historical treasures, some of which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The most famous among them are Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, the ancient city of Gyeongju, Yangdong Village, and the Bulguksa Temple.

Unique Korean gastronomy

Korean recipes. Photo source: KTO

Korean cuisine is one of the most popular in the world, with recipes based on traditional techniques and vegetables. Key ingredients include sesame oil, soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and napa cabbage.

Some of the best places to visit to taste authentic Korean gastronomy are the Korea Temple Food Center, Haap, Space O, and Born and Bred.

The famous K-Pop culture

HiKR Ground Museum. Photo source: KTO

K-Pop culture has become a global phenomenon, captivating audiences worldwide with its dynamic music, intricate choreography, and vibrant fashion. Originating in South Korea, K-Pop has transcended cultural boundaries and established a massive international fanbase.

Fans of the culture can enjoy impressive destinations and events, such as the HiKR Ground, an interactive museum in Seoul, or the Busan International Film Festival, which takes place in the fall.

Top-notch health and beauty services

Since beauty holds a very important place in Korean society, the country has some of the best beauty professionals in the world, offering high-quality services like spa treatments and plastic surgeries.

South Korea has a long tradition of beauty practices with product recipes and special techniques that date back thousands of years.

Following a focused communication strategy to promote South Korea, the KTO launched the “Visit Korea Year 2023-2024” initiative to boost tourism by showcasing Korea‘s cultural and travel attractions.

The initiative is a two-year program that aims to attract international visitors through a variety of events, promotional campaigns, and travel packages centered around K-Culture, which includes K-Pop, K-Drama, traditional Korean culture, and more.

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