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‘One of our primary areas of interest this year is the Premium and Luxury travel segment’

Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) considers India as a growing source market, and has launched the Korea Premium Travel Consultant Program 2023 to educate the travel agents about the destination in detail. Myong-kil Yun, Director, India Office, KTO spoke to Disha Shah Ghosh about their focus in India, and the value of this education initiative.

1. Where does India rank in pecking order of global source markets for KTO?
India is not yet a very big source market for travel to South Korea and compared to certain other countries, it can be considered to be a growing market for the destination. That being said, the recovery of outbound travel from India post pandemic has been absolutely great and the interest and feedback we have received for travel to South Korea has also been very positive.

We are accordingly working on our marketing campaigns to boost these numbers and the KPTC 2023 programme is one such initiative.

2. In terms of trade outreach, what are you trying to achieve through the Korea Premium Travel Consultant Program 2023?
As KTO, one of our primary areas of interest this year is the Premium and Luxury travel segment. We wanted travel agents in India and neighbouring countries, to have specific information about this category of travel to accordingly be able to design unique and interesting Korea itineraries for the discerning traveller.

For the same we decided to change up our Korea Premium Travel Consultant programme this year, to specifically cater to this area of travel.

3. How are you encouraging the travel trade to participate in the Korea Premium Travel Consultant Program 2023?
We conducted a survey to shortlist potential travel agents with whom we could work together to promote Premium Korea and who in turn expressed interest in this specialized program.

Additionally, all shortlisted members were given destination training pertaining to Premium and Luxury Korea through exclusive interactive sessions with DMCs in Korea. The DMC partners for this programme were also selected based on their capability and experience of handling Premium and Luxury travel clients, to enable KPTC members to curate unique and customized itineraries for their HNI clients.

4. What are the salient features of the Korea Premium Travel Consultant Program 2023?
Besides being given exclusive destination training for Premium and Luxury Korea, the KPTC 2023 programme also has in place a Support scheme for its members, to better plan and facilitate travel for their clients.

To be categorised as a Premium Korea travel package, KPTC members must ensure that certain criteria are met – trip duration of at least 3 nights and more, accommodation at 4-star and 5-star hotels only and a minimum package cost of USD 300 per pax per night.

Support in terms of discounted airfare from Asiana Airlines, K-beauty kits from Amorepacific and welcome kits from KTO are some of the benefits on offer for KPTC members, subject to meeting the criteria laid out for the program.

5. Besides online training, what are the on-ground activations being conducted to create awareness about the Korea Premium Travel Consultant Program 2023?
As part of the Korea Premium Travel Consultant Program 2023, all selected participants were asked to share their marketing plans to promote Premium Korea travel to their clients.

KTO is reviewing all such plans and will be working together with the KPTC 2023 members on these marketing plans on a case-to-case basis. This includes on-ground activities like networking sessions with HNI clients and other physical and digital campaigns.

6. Which destinations are being highlighted through the Korea Premium Travel Consultant Program 2023?
KTO has been focusing on Seoul, Busan and Jeju Island as the destinations for Indian travellers for the past couple of years. For the KPTC 2023 program, additionally the regions of Jeollanam-do Province and Gangwon-do Province, are some destinations that we are looking to actively promote.

Jeollanam-do Province is where the cities of Suncheon and Yeosu lie. Suncheon is known for its lush greenery and the Suncheonman Bay National Garden and Wetlands, which is also hosting the Suncheonman International Garden Expo this year. Yeosu is a great place to build seaside memories with mouth-watering seafood and busker performances.

Gangwon-do Province gained international fame when it hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 2018. It is “the” place to go to winter activities and sports, but is also quite famous for its many beaches and coffee streets. It also provides a host of adventure activity options for thrill lovers.

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