Putting heart and Seoul in tourism drive

Seoul Tourism Organization wants to rope in local residents in its "Value tourism, together with Seoul" drive.

Coex Convention and Exhibition Center, Seoul
Coex Convention and Exhibition Center, Seoul

Following its restructuring from a public-private partnership into a goverment-funded foundation this spring, Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) has now unveiled its 'Value tourism, together with Seoul' (Gachi Guanguang, Gachi Seoul) vision, which aims to draw local residents into the city's tourism drive.

The organisation has just concluded its week-long 'Seoul Tourism Hearing Week' on 3 September, where stakeholders shared ideas on promoting the city as a travel and meeting destination

Billed as the organisation's most public-focused vision yet, the initiatives introduced by STO include giving local residents the Discover Seoul Pass, which was previously exclusive to foreign tourists.

STO claims that the 'Tourism Citizens' term that it coined does not discriminate against foreigners, local residents nor Koreans from other regions visiting Seoul. In addition, STO pledged to ensure mutual growth for local residents by offering them lifelong tousim education opportunities, while visitors stand to benefit from the 24-hour tourist complaint centre. 

STO is currently headed by Jaesung Rhee, a 33-year Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) veteran who had served under various portfolios including international tourism and marketing, domestic industrial affairs and policy. STO said it is committed to increasing the city's competitiveness in the MICE sector as part of its restructuring exercise.

The organisation reportedly exhibited independently from KTO at international events starting this year. Its next mega-scale event in the lineup—the International Bar Association Annual Conference 2019—is expected to draw 6,000 delegates to the city. 


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