Korea Looks to Build on Success

Arrivals to Korea have been on the upswing, and the Korea Tourism Organization stands ready to help retailers who are looking to grow this segment of their international business.  An enhanced cultural experience is part of the KTO's plan

In 2005, arrivals passed the six million mark for the first time, and through the first eight months of the year they grew at rate of 2.3 percent. Arrivals from the U.S. thus far this year are outpacing this rate, growing at a 4.1 percent clip.

Next year, the country is aiming for 7.5 million visitors, and is expecting that 600,000 of them will hail from the U.S. Travel options are on the upswing, as well. Korean Air added Las Vegas-Seoul service; United increased its San Francisco-Seoul route to daily service; and Delta also has increased its lift between Atlanta and Seoul.

Also raising Korea's profile is the ASTA International Destination Expo, scheduled for March 25-29,2007 on JejuIsland. Visit www.astanet.com/expo for details.

For its part, the Korea Tourism Organization provides agents with a variety of resources. Among them are a travel planner, a meeting guide for convention information, a tour guide, posters, maps and a range of regional information.

Meanwhile, the Korea Tourism Organization's Los Angeles office has heightened its visibility—and its ability to serve as a resource for agents—following a move to larger quarters.

The KTO recently moved into a historic building on

Wilshire Boulevard
adjoining the KoreaCultureCenter. Together, the two buildings comprise "KoreaCenter."

KTO's new digs include a 3,200-square-foot exhibition hall equipped with such technology as 22 high-definition video screens, touch-screen information kiosks and Internet access to KTO's web site. The expanded space and technology help ensure that the organization is even better able to help retailers, says Maureen O'Crowley, KTO marketing manager. Having spent 28 years as the owner/manager of a retail travel agency in southern California, O'Crowley understands what retailers need. She also can draw upon her personal experience, having lived in Korea for two years and having visited the country more than 25 times.

In addition to providing help to agents and consumers at the new location, KTO also plans to host events at its offices on a regular basis. The first event for retailers there will be the ASTA Los Angeles Chapter Korea Presentation on November 16.

"With the addition of exhibition space, we will be able to serve a Korean banquet to enhance the culture experience that evening," says O'Crowley.

Retailers who would like to request collateral can call the KTO at 323-634-0280. Agents wishing to contact O'Crowley can e-mail her at maureen@kntoamerica.com.