Press Release from Korea Tourism Organization: Korea Begins Post-MERS 100-day Tourism Recovery Plan

21 Jul 15
The Republic of Korea

PRESS RELEASE

Korea Tourism Organization

14 July 2015

 

Korea Begins Post-MERS 100-day Tourism Recovery Plan

Tourism Sector Recovers as KTO Invites the World Back to S. Korea

 

Korea’s tourism industry is steadily recovering, as the total number of people diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(MERS) remains unchanged for the ninth consecutive day. With inbound travel to the country returning to normal, the Korea Tourism Organization has launched its 100-day Tourism Recovery Plan, aimed at revitalizing the industry and attracting international visitors back to the country, thereby normalizing the tourism demand enjoyed by Korea prior to the outbreak.

Under the plan, the KTO will focus on promoting Korea’s distinctive touristic appeal to the global community by inviting foreign media and key industry decision makers through sponsored programs. This includes a tour of Seoul from July 15-18 for major Chinese travel companies, journalists, and bloggers, promotional roadshows in Asia, and more.

From mid-July onwards, the KTO will also promote the safety of traveling to and within Korea, as well as Korean cuisine, major local attractions, and hallyu (Korean Wave)-related content through media channels such as CNN, and in major feeder markets for countries, such as China, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, and the US.

KTO Vice President for International Marketing, Mr. Jaesung Rhee said, “The Korea Tourism Organization will mobilize all of its capabilities and means to make the Post-MERS 100-day Plan the shot in the arm the country needs to get back on track.” Mr. Rhee added that the plan aimed to capitalize on traditional holiday periods in neighboring  countries, such as the three-day “Obon Festival” and “Silver Week” held in Japan during August and September respectively, and China’s Golden Week holiday period in early October.
 

The MERS outbreak significantly impacted the Korean economy in June, with the nation’s largest feeder markets, namely China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, accounting for the biggest drop in inbound travel to Korea. 

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) consistently maintained that it “does not recommend travel or trade restrictions with regard to this event”, and most countries did not issue any travel warnings.

Likewise, Korea’s international business sector was largely unaffected by the outbreak, with no major global conferences scheduled for 2015 canceled, including the June International Council of Nurses (ICN) 2015 Conference, which saw strong attendance at the height of the MERS scare. In addition, global destination management company Pacific World’s June destination index revealed that South Korea remained Asia’s number one destination for business events enquiries.

Updated information on the MERS outbreak is available via the KTO’s official tourism site VisitKorea at www.visitkorea.or.kr. For any direct queries, please email to joanne9@knto.or.kr.