SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, November 13, 2020 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government holds the “2020 Online Seoul International Travel Mart (SITM)” for three weeks from November 6 to 27. Korea’s largest tourism business event aims to create the demand for tourism in the COVID-19 era proactively.
The city government invited around 1,200 domestic and international tourism agencies for the event. The SITM is the annual event with the participation of more than 100 overseas tourism agencies. This year marks the sixth anniversary of the SITM. It has become a leading international tourism exhibition while helping small- and medium-sized travel agencies in Korea finding channels for advancing into the world market.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government holds the event this year online to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. To do so, Seoul has established an online platform to which cutting-edge digital technologies are applied. This online venue will replace the role of the physical venue of the event.
Online business meetings are arranged on this online platform where international buyers and Korean sellers in the tourism sector meet and discuss Seoul’s tourism products. Virtual Reality (VR) tour programs are also available with five tour courses so that Seoul’s representative tourist destinations and programs can be viewed, such as the Gyeongbokgung Palace and Temple Stay at Jogyesa Temple. A job fair that matches 257 jobs with 56 tourism and MICE companies (46 Korean and ten overseas ones) is also held online.
Seoul will utilize this online event to get ready when cross-border travels are resumed in the future. The virus outbreak limited the movement among people and between countries, which also shut off opportunities for traveling and face-to-face exchanges in the tourism industry globally. Seoul will take advantage of this event to explore a new market for the tourism industry while providing full support to make collaborations and another leap forward after the COVID-19.
During this year’s SITM, the number of participating international travel agencies has increased from last year despite the pandemic, which shows the potential for the recovery and facilitation of the tourism industry. This year, 197 agencies from 39 countries in five continents join the event. (192 agencies from 30 countries last year)
With the Seoul Tourism Organization, the Seoul Metropolitan Government also holds the “Seoul International Travel Mart for Medical Tourism 2020 (SITMMT 2020)” and the “Seoul Medical Tourism International Forum (SMTIF)” online from November 6 to 19. A total of 140 medical institutions and medical tourism agencies from 27 countries and 160 Korean medical institutions attend the event.
In the SITMMT 2020 and the SMTIF, online one-to-one business meetings will be held to arrange more than 2,000 meetings about Seoul’s medical tourism products and services. One of the purposes is to increase the awareness of Seoul’s medical and wellness tourism and facilitate the market. The SMTIF, which is held one of the SITMMT programs, seeks to take an overview of the medical and wellness tourism market, and identify the corresponding strategies in the post-COVID-19 era.
“Seoul will provide its full-scale support for exchanging and establishing networks with international tourism industry and relevant sectors through the Seoul International Travel Mart and the Seoul International Travel Mart for Medical Tourism. With this support, Seoul will build up a new momentum to create a demand for inbound tourism and to rebound the Seoul’s tourism market in the post-COVID-19 era,” said Joo Yong-tae, Director-General of Tourism & Sports at the Seoul Metropolitan Government.