The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] VisitKorea relaunch seeks to entice travelers with unique tourism experiences

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : July 12, 2023 - 15:13

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Korea Tourism Organization’s Digital Tourism Division Executive Vice President You Jin-ho (KTO) Korea Tourism Organization’s Digital Tourism Division Executive Vice President You Jin-ho (KTO)

A crucial factor in attracting potential tourists and ensuring their return visits to Korea post-pandemic is providing up-to-date visual information online that aligns with individual preferences, according to You Jin-ho, the Korea Tourism Organization’s executive vice president of the digital tourism division.

The KTO, which relaunched its VisitKorea website and mobile app on July 5, has integrated over 270,000 images alongside travel information and travel routes on the platforms to better cater to those interested in traveling to Korea.

In an email interview with The Korea Herald, You highlighted their evolving needs.

"A decade ago, the KTO focused primarily on conveying traditional stories of Korean culture and heritage. However, recent developments, including the pandemic, have significantly increased Korea's brand power," You said, emphasizing the importance of capturing Korea's changing image. The younger generation also seeks unique tourism experiences, often following the footsteps of their favorite celebrities or exploring viral spots on social media, You added.

In a strategic move, the KTO considers how individual tourists' experiences can have a lasting impact on potential visitors, rather than treating social media trends as temporary phenomena. By leveraging social media, the agency hopes tourists can share their authentic opinions and photos from their trips, contributing to an interactive engagement online.

You also expressed his ambition to establish VisitKorea as an essential platform for foreign tourists planning their trip to Korea.

"We possess a wealth of data that can be customized to suit the individual needs of tourists," he said. The new daily travel planner offered by VisitKorea provides personalized recommendations for travel destinations, restaurants and accommodations based on users' interests.

The platform becomes increasingly valuable and tailored to users' preferences as they engage with it, allowing them to create their own itineraries.

Furthermore, You underlined that VisitKorea encompasses both public and private tourism services, distinguishing it from similar government-initiated platforms in other countries. The KTO strives to make the platform shareable and beneficial for the private sector as well.

The KTO aims to attract 100,000 users to its renewed VisitKorea website by next year. Since its relaunch last week, the site has already garnered 3,000 users.

The agency will organize events and promotional campaigns to gather feedback from users. Ultimately, the KTO envisions developing its own AI chatbot system to provide personalized and convenient experiences for travelers visiting Korea.