According to the SMG, the three schemes are ① emergency assistance for the tourism sector that has been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, ② recovery plan to enhance the resilience against the post-covid tourism environment, ③ and resurgence of Seoul as an international travel destination. The SMG will push ahead with these schemes with a vision to revive Seoul as a global tourist city that reemerges in the post-COVID-19 era.
First and foremost, the SMG will spare no effort to help the industry. In April, Seoul plans to open the Seoul Tourism Plaza and inject KRW 10 billion into the Seoul Tourism Recovery Funding. Additionally, for the first time this year, the Seoul International Travel Mart—a business fair that attracts over 1,000 travel businesses and organizations from home and abroad each year—will be held both online and offline.
Second, new keywords of the pandemic, such as safe, contactless, and digital, inspired the city government to devise tourism content to show Seoul’s unique strength. The prime examples are the Seoul history tour armed with AR and VR technologies and Seoul’s guided walking tour with online docent service. The capital’s major offline festivals and events, including Seoul Shopping Festa and Seoul Lantern Festival, will switch to online, taking advantage of state-of-the-art technologies including AR and VR technologies.
For the MICE industry, the SMG will aid the transition into contactless and online service. Last year, when the virus triggered a worldwide panic, Seoul developed a virtual 3D platform and opened it to private businesses. This year, the city government will focus on reinforcing the MICE industry’s competitive edge in hosting online events.
Third, the Seoul city government will foster the future potential of the industries. For example, it will combine tourism with high-value-added sectors, such as health and wellness. It will also discover more sectors with high expandability, namely, Korean wave tourism.
The SMG says it will imprint Seoul as a safe travel destination on potential tourists’ minds by proactively engaging in public relations and marketing. For this, it will film Safe Seoul promotion video featuring Seoul’s Honorary Tourism Ambassador and disseminate it through various channels of major markets.
Joo Yong-tae, Director-General of the Tourism and Sports Bureau, said, “Vaccine passports and travel bubble show a high level of global anticipation of return to travel. Taking this into account, the SMG will take steps to help Seoul’s tourism sector spearhead the changing tourism trends and create a COVID-free environment where international and local tourists feel safe.”