KTO aims to touch base with over 2500 travel agents in 2020
Reputed for all the wrong reasons, the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has greatly affected the tourism industry, globally. With no international flight operations, it has brought the entire travel industry to a standstill. The actual impact of Coronavirus can only be realized once the business operations initiate again. Nevertheless, Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) doesn’t seem to be disconcerted by the current fiasco as Jong Sool Kwon, Director, KTO New Delhi explains how the tourism board is acting beyond the compulsory ‘wait and watch’
By Team TS
International tourism and its related sectors have been greatly affected by the current standstill situation. Considering the recent deceleration of the global tourism industry that has affected all of the travel trade, it will take some time for every international destination to recuperate. It would be a time-consuming linger till the travellers start making their travel plans again as everything is on hold, till date. However, KTO is taking utmost advantage of this hibernation phase for reshaping and re-strategizing their outlook and approach for its significant India market.
Currently, we are working more on our digital strengths and have launched webinars to educate our travel trade partners on the latest product offerings of South Korea. Once the Coronavirus situation is over, we plan to do multi-city training with OTOAI,” shares Kwon. “India has always been a priority for marketing South Korea, as a tourist destination. There is great potential in this region with over 65 million passport holders and millennial travellers who are willing to experience new destinations, every time they plan their holiday. We must be present as a prime destination to the Indian travellers.”
He further updates that KTO will be reaching to over 2500 travel agents by the end of this year. “Our social media campaigns will be running parallel to the webinars. By the time the situation gets resolved, travel agents will be well-prepared to offer a new destination to their clients,” he adds. “As a destination promoter, KTO needs to educate the variety of offerings that South Korea has to offer to suit the requirements of Indian travellers. Thorough knowledge of the destination not only helps the travel agent in selling the destination but also creates a desirable impression of the destination for the travellers.”
India is a vast country with varying culture. Similarly, the Indian travel trade is geographically-diverse. Hence, what they offer to different categories of travellers is also variable. Each travel agent has his own set of clientele and its specialisation in the offering of travel packages. “For KTO, the webinars have worked best as they enable us to have a larger geographical and number reach within the travel agents’ network. This year, we have planned seven webinars with four different online training partners. KTO’s training programs touch essential information including popular tourist spots, activities to do and addressing Indian-specific food requirements. Simultaneously, ‘Special Interest’ travels, MICE and Educational Tours are also covered in the program. When enquired about KTO’s upcoming tactics while he continues saying that safety is KTO’s priority when it comes to travelling to or in Korea. South Korea has been applauded by the world over for its proactive approach towards containing COVID-19 pandemic, till date” We aim to achieve similar standards when we welcome the travellers post the COVID-19 issue is resolved.
Looking at the present situation, Kwon opines that the travel trade needs to think in terms of cooperative working. The airlines, hotels and NTOs all need to join hands and work on joint offers to lure the clients to travel and help each other grow business. To boost the consumers’ confidence, competitive offers from hotel and airlines, easy access to travel formalities such as visas, new experiences and offerings from the destinations will play a significant role to recover the market. “Recently WHO and UNWTO strengthened their collaboration to coordinate their response to COVID-19. Similarly, countries should encourage MoU and cooperation to promote tourism. At the same time, private players including airlines, hotels and travel agencies should cooperate with a customer-centric approach to attract more travellers and enhance travel movements”.