South Korea is taking significant steps to promote tourism from India as the two nations celebrate the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. The Korean Tourism Department (KTD), based in Seoul, is organizing a large-scale roadshow in New Delhi in late August to attract Indian tourists. Similar roadshows are also being planned for other major cities in India.
Executive Director of KTD, Lee Younggeun, revealed that the roadshows would highlight Korean pop culture, food, and beauty products across different parts of the Indian capital to entice Indian travelers and familiarize them with tourist destinations in South Korea. He emphasized that South Korea offers numerous attractions for Indian tourists, with many places offering Indian cuisine alongside popular international options such as Korean, Italian, Mexican, and Chinese.
Lee acknowledged that Indian tourism to South Korea had experienced significant growth until 2018 but declined due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and other factors. The peak number of Indian tourists visiting Korea was recorded at 195,000 in 2016. Recognizing that Indians tend to prefer European destinations for tourism, Lee expressed confidence that the number of Indian travelers to South Korea would see a substantial increase in the coming years. He attributed this optimism to the growing number of flights connecting the two countries and the increasing awareness about the region among Indians.
Efforts are also underway to promote South Korea as a prime filming location for Bollywood directors and producers. Lee highlighted the incentives his country can offer to the Indian film industry, without providing further details.
The issue of limited seat availability and flights between India and South Korea, which was a significant challenge in the past, is now being prioritized and addressed by both countries.
South Korean tourism officials are planning to focus on luxury travel and special interest groups, such as K-pop and K-drama fans, as well as students visiting Korea for educational tours. As part of their marketing plans for 2023, South Korea is offering travel agents incentives of $30 per passenger and support for hassle-free tour visas between June and December 2023.
The incentive scheme aims to boost sales of Korean travel packages in the Indian market. Besides Seoul, regional tourist destinations like Busan, Gangwon, and Jellonam-do provinces are being promoted among Indian travelers. South Korea provides a variety of sightseeing and entertainment options, catering to different types of travelers, including honeymooners and families. Shopping and food experiences are also highlighted as significant aspects of tourism in South Korea.
With the comprehensive roadshow and targeted promotional efforts, South Korea is eagerly anticipating a surge in Indian tourists, fostering stronger cultural and tourism ties between the two nations.