Thursday, June 20, 2024

It attracts luxury Middle East VIP tourists with K-content

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Many locals gathered to receive counseling at the Qatar Korean Culture and Medical Tourism Exhibition, which was held at the Qatar Mall in Doha, Qatar from the 10th to the 11th. The Middle East is emerging in the foreign tourism market visiting Korea. Human and material exchanges between Korea and the Middle East have expanded, and interest in Korean tourism in the Middle East has increased due to the spread of K-culture. The Middle East is a representative high value-added tourism market, and the average consumption per visitor is about 37% higher than the average of foreign tourists visiting Korea. Among the Middle East, six Gulf Cooperation Council countries have a high proportion of visiting Korea. The number of GCC nationals visiting Korea in 2023 was 31,000, showing a recovery rate of 88.5% compared to 2019. Among them, the number of Saudi Arabian visitors increased by 121%. The period of stay was more than 10 days, with the average expenditure reaching 2,500 dollars. Currently, direct flights to Korea are operating from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and the growth of Middle Eastern tourists to Korea is expected in the future. Therefore, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization are working in earnest to attract tourists to Korea in the Middle East. The Korea Tourism Organization participated in the ‘Arabian Travel Market (ATM)’ held at the World Trade Center (DWTC) in Dubai, UAE for four days from the 6th and conducted all-round marketing activities for local consumers as well as the Korean industry. Overseas buyers who are consulting on Korean tourism products at the ‘Arabian Travel Market’, an international tourism fair in the Middle East, held at the World Trade Center in Dubai, UAE from the 6th to the 9th. Courtesy of the Korea Tourism Organization

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Overseas buyers who are consulting on Korean tourism products at the “Arabian Travel Market,” an international tourism fair in the Middle East held at the World Trade Center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from the 6th to the 9th. The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) ATM is the largest B2B international tourism fair in the Middle East with about 165 countries around the world. The KTO has created and operated a large-scale Korean tourism promotion center under various themes such as medical wellness, luxury, and MICE with 45 local governments, airlines, and travel agencies, and conducted 5,900 consultations with the local travel industry to develop tourism products and invite tourists to Korea.

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Korea’s favorability for medical tourism and beauty was very high. Considering that 50% of women visited Korea in the Middle East and the number of inquiries about wellness and luxury tourism in Korea is steadily increasing, a briefing session on women’s VVIP customized medical tourism was held jointly with the Jabil Ladies Club during the fair on the 6th. The Jabil Ladies Club is an organization under the Dubai Women’s Association that operates women-specific programs such as fitness, spa, and wellness for wealthy women in the UAE, with about 2,500 members. In addition, the “Korea Culture and Medical Tourism Competition” was held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Qatar. For two days from the 10th, a large-scale public relations center was set up at the Qatar Mall, the largest shopping center in Doha, Qatar. A total of three promotional spaces were planned under the theme of K-tourism, K-culture, and K-medicine, creating a Korean street where you can directly experience all Korean cultural tourism contents in one place. Local people who are experiencing hanbok at the Qatar Korea Culture and Medical Tourism Competition. Among the events offered by the Korea Tourism Organization, the K-ramen Challenge event, which reflects various interests of local consumers, and Korean-style medical wellness experiences such as simple oriental medicine procedures were arranged to receive enthusiastic responses from local consumers. In addition, the event captured the hearts of more than 10,000 local people with celebratory performances by Korean K-pop idol MCND.

In addition, 15 local MZ generation members who love K-pop and Korean culture were selected as K Travel Junior Leaders. They plan to promote Korean tourism in Qatar using major social media. As a result of the two events, a total of 9,684 cases were reported. A total of 298 contracts and business agreements were made at the site, with estimated sales of about 3 billion won and the highest among a single contract is an orthopedic treatment contract worth 100,000 dollars.

“The Middle East accounts for only 1% of foreign tourists visiting Korea, but it is a representative high value-added market with high travel spending and the length of stay is considerably longer at 10.5 days compared to 6.7 days on average,” said Lee Hak-joo, head of the International Tourism Division of the Korea Tourism Organization. “For ultra-division marketing considering the travel characteristics of customers in the Middle East, the Korea Tourism Organization will further expand the path to Korea by designating local travel agencies as experts in selling high value-added products to help them launch unique travel products to Korea.” Earlier, the Korea Tourism Organization launched “Alam Arabi Korea,” a public-private consultative body for tourism visiting Korea in February to enhance travel convenience for tourists visiting Korea. Thirty-one private companies and ambassadors from six GCC countries joined the group. “We laid the foundation for cooperation between the government and the tourism industry to support the creation of tourism services and infrastructure in consideration of Middle Eastern cultures so that more Middle Eastern customers can stay longer and more comfortably in 2024, said Yoo In-chon, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism. “We hope that Alam Arabi Korea will play a pivotal role in promoting mutual cultural understanding and expanding tourism exchanges between Korea and the Middle East.”

JULIE KIM

US ASIA JOURNAL

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