The Seoul Metropolitan Government will target Tokyo, the heart of Japan, with the aim of promoting tourism, one of the core axes of Seoul’s creative economy. Despite recent declining inbound tourists from Japan, it still remains Korea’s second largest visitor, after China. In 2014 (as of November), approximately 2.11 million Japanese tourists visited Korea, which is second only to China, but the rates are declining for various reasons, including a weak Yen.
On February 2, Park Won Soon, mayor of Seoul, hosted the ‘2015 Seoul Tourism Seminar in Tokyo, Japan’ , which was attended by some 100 participants from local travel agencies, related organizations and media, and promoted the city’s latest tourism resources, tourism policy and MICE support program. A highlight of the seminar was that Mayor Park became a one-day tourist guide for Seoul and delivered a 20-minute presentation titled “Seoul, a close and charming friend”.
In his presentation, he introduced Seoul’s new tourism resources, namely walking along the Seoul City Wall for which the city is pursuing its listing as a UNESCO world heritage, alleyways in Ihwa-dong and Seochon, areas that will unveil the city’s hidden charms, the eatery alley “Meokjagolmok” to taste Seoul’s traditional foods, Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), which has recently emerged as a new landmark, and Sevit Island.
He also held a meeting with executives from JATA (Japan Association of Travel Agents), where a relationship of friendly cooperation was forged through exchanges in 2014 (during their visit to Korea in February and August 2014), and pursued mutual cooperation to create a tourism boom in Seoul.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will install a hotline with JATA, as a permanent communication channel, and offer a large-scale familiarization tour for JATA members to acquire hands-on experience of Seoul’s newest attractions. Furthermore, it will provide maximum comfort to encourage more tourists from Japan to attend festivals and events hosted by the city government and will also support the development of new products via prior consultations with JATA.
Mayor Park said, “Although we are seeing a decline in the number of Japanese tourists traveling to Seoul, their interest and preference for Seoul’s culture are still high.” He continued, “Japanese tourists have a high tendency to re-visit Seoul, which is why we intend to devote our best efforts to promoting the attractiveness of our newest tourism resources and actively encouraging their return.”