Mumbai: Focused on promoting South Korea amongst general and business tourists and travelers in India, Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), has announced a two-day experiential festival ‘Korea Festival 2019’ in Mumbai. The festival which has equal to offer for regular tourists as well as for travel trade in India.

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For its travel trade partners, KTO is organizing Tourism Travel Mart and Korea Night – a B2B initiative for Indian tour operators and other stakeholders to network and engage with key Korean delegation. Guests will get an opportunity to interact with nine Destination Management Companies and four Regional Tourism Organizations viz. Gimhae City (the land where Indian Princess Heo married the Korean King), Gyeonggi Tourism Organization (the region to which Dematerialized Zone belongs), Incheon Airport (the winner of best airport worldwide by ACI) and Jeju Tourism Organization (the only Island amongst the New 7 Wonders of Nature), as well as film commissions including Korean Film Commission & Industry Network which represents all 12 film commissions of Korea and Seoul Film Commission, known to extend support to filming projects in Seoul. The nine destination travel companies present will help Indian tour operators understand more about the opportunities presented by South Korea.

For the general public and travel enthusiasts of Mumbai, the Culture and Tourism Festival took place from 13th-14th April 2019 at High Street Phoenix in Mumbai. This two-day extravaganza exhibited the experiences across food, culture, music, tourism, etc. that South Korea offers. Alongside, a Korea Movie Weekend was also organized by Korea Culture Centre at PVR Juhu, Mumbai.

The key attractions for visitors at the festival included performances by highly sought-after Korean artists including In2it, Alexandra, Queen and Gamblers Crew. Visitors also had an opportunity to experience traditional Korean costume – Hanbok wearing, name stamping in Korean alphabet Hangeul, mask painting, face painting, food tasting of Korean signature dishes like Bibimbap (rice dish) and Sujeonggwa (the cinnamon drink) and local Korean snacks sampling organized by AT Centre.

Designated zones like the Hallyu Zone, Performance Zone, Experience Zone, VR & Caligraphy Zone, Photo Zone, Game Zone, Food Zone, Regional Tourism Zone, and Redemption Zone enhanced and gave one an opportunity to simply ‘Imagine Your Korea’. The festival was open to all with free entry. The visitors could take away free K-Fest merchandise by taking stamp tour at RTO Zone.

As a part of the festival and the initiative to promote South Korea as a tourist destination in India, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between KTO and Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) to significantly boost outbound tourism from India to South Korea with special focus on MICE. Through the MOU, OTOAI prioritized South Korea as a Focus Country for 2019. KTO and OTOAI together organized multi-city seminars to increase awareness about general tourism as well as MICE tourism to South Korea. The signing of the MoU was followed with the Launch of a Guidebook titled ‘Indian Friendly Restaurants in Korea’. The book is launched with the aim to address the food concerns of an Indian tourist in South Korea with a list of restaurants suitable to the Indian palate.

Speaking on the launch of the Korean Festival 2019 in Mumbai, Kwon Jong Sool, Director, Korea Tourism Organization, said, “India has always been an important country for us. South Korea has immense to offer in terms of tourism for regular travelers as well as the MICE market. We believe there is tremendous untapped potential and this two-day festival will help us garner interest and create more awareness about South Korea amongst Indian travelers. We will continue to invest in promoting Korea for Indian travelers and this MoU reinstates our attempt in doing so. We look forward to a long-standing partnership with the OTOAI in making Korea the first choice for India travelers.”

Also present at the event, Park Jeong Ha, Executive Vice-President, KTO International Tourism Division further added, “We are very pleased to host the Korea Culture and Tourism Festival in Mumbai, the center for economy and tourism industry in India. The festival will allow Indians to feel and experience traditional as well as modern Korean culture. The number of Indians traveling to South Korea is on the rise. Around 100,000 Indians visited South Korea in 2018 and the numbers are growing with an average rate of 10-15% year on year. With our New Southern Policy being emphasized by President  Moon Jae In, we are positive that India will be one of the important markets to drive growth in terms of tourist numbers.”

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