KTO spares no effort to recover tourism between VN and South Korea

October 17, 2022 - 18:18
Lê Hương interviewed Mr Lee Jae Hoon, Chief Representative of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) in Việt Nam, on the situation of tourism between the two countries and the agency’s efforts to recover the activities after the pandemic.

Việt Nam News reporter Lê Hương interviewed Lee Jae Hoon, Chief Representative of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) in Việt Nam, on the status of tourism between the two countries and the agency’s efforts to recover after the pandemic

Lee Jae Hoon, Chief Representative of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) in Việt Nam. Photos Courtesy of the KTO

Could you please brief us on the status of tourism, specially that of Vietnamese tourists to South Korea before the pandemic and now that the pandemic is under control in both countries?

Thank you for offering me an opportunity to talk in your special edition today!

Before the pandemic, tourism activities between our countries reached very impressive numbers with 4.3 million South Korean people visiting Việt Nam and 554,000 Vietnamese people to South Korea.

Both countries were important markets for each other.

We have experienced a difficult period together and overcame it. The two peoples have been supporting each other to fight against the pandemic and are now recovering economies, cultures and tourism step by step.

After local authorities in the two countries removed pandemic prevention barriers, tourism activities between the two countries have been recovering rapidly. We can see that through the numbers. In the first eight months of this year, as many as 370,000 South Korean people travelled to Việt Nam, double the number of tourists from the US at 139,000 people. The number of Vietnamese people visiting South Korea reached over 80,000. South Korea has been the most searched destination by Vietnamese people after the pandemic.

With these encouraging numbers, we hope to recover tourism between the two countries like that of the period before the pandemic very soon.

What are you planning to do this year to recover the tourism activities?

Since we resumed tourism activities, KTO has been continuously hosting various events and campaigns to widely advertise South Korean destinations to Vietnamese people.

We launched a campaign titled “Travel to Korea Begins Again”, offering gifts to tourists coming to South Korea between June 1 and July 24. We hosted tourism workshops like MICE roadshows to award tours to travel agencies and create chances for them to connect with tourism enterprises in South Korea.

We also have a campaign to advertise South Korean tourism titled Hello Korea on Tiktok; we joined annual international tourism fairs like Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM) in Hà Nội and International Travel Expo (ITE) in HCM City as well as big and small events throughout Việt Nam.

With the aim to recover tourism to the level of the period before the pandemic, South Korea has been doing research, discussing and simplifying immigration procedures including exempting the regulation on the number of vaccination shots on August 22; exempting COVID-19 tests before entering South Korea on September 3 and especially exempting PCR test certification after entering South Korea on October 1.

Vietnamese participants in a famtour to Arte Museum in Gangwon, South Korea, in July 2022. The trip was hosted by the KTO.

What extra activities will you host this year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries?

In December, KTO will host a programme titled South Korean Days in Hà Nội on Hoàn Kiếm pedestrian area on December 17 and 18, which is expected to gather many Vietnamese people to join in diverse activities of South Korea to learn more about South Korean tourism.

In addition, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties, cultural and tourism events will be a golden chance for the two peoples to exchange and further tighten the relationship.

- What challenges are you facing after the pandemic to lure tourists from Việt Nam to South Korea? What will you do to overcome the challenges and how Vietnamese tourism agencies can chip in?

There remain many obstacles for Vietnamese people visiting South Korea resulting from the long pandemic as tourism human resources have moved to other sectors. Tourism companies still do not have enough staff to meet the demand of people.

I hope that given the positive situation we are in now, tourism human resources will soon be recovered to facilitate exchanges between our two countries.

How do you expect the Vietnamese tourism market will grow in the next few years?

First and foremost, in the next year, I hope the number of Vietnamese people visiting South Korea will reach the same number as before the pandemic and then gradually increase in the years after that.

South Korea will always change to be more alluring, bringing more fresh experiences to international guests, including Vietnamese tourists.

Việt Nam will always be an important market for the South Korean tourism sector. VNS