Minister Yoo meets with 14 hotel representatives to urge qualitative improvements for tourism in Korea
Minister Yoo Jin-ryong of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, 4th R, presides over a meeting of
representatives of 15 major hotels in Korea on June 4 to improve hotel services to expand the number of
foreign tourists to Korea. (photo courtesy of MCST)
Minister Yoo Jin-ryong of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said on June 4 that attracting over 10 million foreign tourists to Korea has been a great achievement, but it is time now to boost the quality of tourism.
He made the statement during a meeting with representatives of 14 hotels in the country in which he also urged the hotel executives to improve hotel services on a voluntary basis, while the government will address the low-price tourism practices conducted by some tourist agencies to attract foreign tourists.
The minister also urged the hotel industry to create jobs since boosting the employment rate to around 70 percent is one of the most important priorities of the new government, adding that lodging is one of the sectors of tourism that can create many jobs with its large-scale facilities.
The hotel executives at the meeting agreed with the minister’s remark on the need to improve the quality of tourism, while urging the expansion of VIP tourists from Japan and China as well as voicing the need for improvement in tourism facilities to handle them well.
They also noted that some 600 people found jobs at the employment mart operated by the Korea Tourism Association last year, and this year, too, the association will hold the job expo.
Minister Yoo Jin-ryong of the Ministry of
Culture, Sports and Tourism
The hotel people also suggested the government take actions to extend the value-added tax exemptions on lodging facilities for foreign tourists, in effect since 2009, and the exemption on local tax for real estate used by hotels, which is faced with the sunset rule this year.
Chairman Yoo Yong-jong of the Korea Hotel Association said the hostelry industry has been feeling the pain due to the reduction in the number of tourists from Japan. He urged the extension of ‘zero local taxes’ and the introduction of ‘zero value-added tax’ to revive the tourism industry in Korea, as the move will help increase the number of in-coming foreign tourists and encourage their spending.
More foreign media are setting their sights on Korea in the face of growing international interest in the country, especially the Korean information and communication technology sector and major international events such as the Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013 as well as the globally popular K-pop and K-dramas.
Heightened interest in Korea’s cultural content has prompted more foreign journalists to explore the country in person and report what they see to their respective countries.
On May 26, a group of 13 journalists from Canal 11 of Mexico, Chilevision of Chile, RCN TV of Colombia, SBS of Australia, and Phoenix Television of Hong Kong embarked on a two-week tour to explore diverse aspects of Korea.
On the fifth day of the visit, staff from RCN TV, one of Colombia’s leading broadcast networks, and SBS, Australia’s state-run broadcaster, visited CJ E&M, Korea’s leading K-Pop cultural content company, as part of their cultural coverage tour.
In an interview with Hwang Jae-sang, managing director of CJ’s global media division, RCN producer Marco Antonia Galindo Hernandez focused his questions on CJ’s K-pop business, the reasons for K-pop’s success, and the reactions of foreign fans to overseas K-pop events.
The foreign media group also watched a rehearsal for “M! Countdown,” a TV music program broadcast by the CJ-affiliate music channel M.net.
“This is my first time to see the rehearsal of such a big-scale music show,” said SBS producer Mark Cummins. “Korean music embraces something unique, something charming never found in other music styles.”
He also said many Australians still know nothing about K-pop, but that once they see K-pop singers, they suddenly find themselves mesmerized by the singers’ visuals and dance moves.
“It seems that they are crazy about the uniqueness and rich artistic sense K-pop holds,” he added.