Annyeong Haseyo!

You might have local channels airing dozens of Koreanovelas on TV, are able to download any piece of information about your favorite Korean stars on the internet, or have danced or listened to Gangnam Style more than you care to admit, but the only real way to appreciate the splendor that is South Korea is to get out there, see it and experience it.

Dubbed as the 'Land of Morning Calm', Korea is a treasure trove of ecological resources, heritage sites, themed and national parks, mountains, islands and beaches. Tourists also come to Korea to enjoy its four seasons: the green shades of spring, the brilliance of summer, the vibrant colors of autumn or the white blankets of winter when the country literally transforms into a winter wonderland.

"Korea is still an introductory travel market for Filipino travelers," shares Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) Manila director Sangyong Zhu. "Korea is very famous to Filipinos because of the drama series and Kpop. A number of affluent travelers have been to or heard about our capital city Seoul, Nami Island and Jeju Island. But the other destinations and tourist sites, they don't know anymore."

White Christmas, Korean style

In terms of Philippine outbound travel market to Korea, there are two peak seasons: the East Holiday season (March to April) and the Christmas-New Year holiday seasons. According to Zhu, it is now almost impossible to find available air seats to Korea from December 23 until the end of the year. "The flights are so full, it's incredible. This means there are now so many Filipino travelers, especially families, who visit Korea to celebrate Christmas and New Year," Zhu beams.

"There's no snow in the Philippines so it's really very enticing for travelers to hop on a four-hour flight to Korea to experience the quintessential White Christmas," shares Hye-Jin Jang, marketing coordinator of KTO-Manila. "The activities Filipinos love doing in Korea during winter are skiing, snowboarding and sledding in our various ski resorts in Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon-do, which are both just an hour drive from Incheon International Airport."

And after spending the whole day playing in the snow, Filipinos also frequent hot springs and spas to relax. For kids and kids at heart, Lotte World's Indoor theme park and Everland Safari are always a must-visit.

Thanks to the worldwide phenomenon that is Gangnam Style, named after the popular and über fashionable Gangnam district (which literally means 'south of the river'), KTO has been developing more Gangnam style tours and winter packages to the district referred as the 'Rodeo Drive' of Korea.

Bringing Korea to more Filipinos

To further promote Korea's winter travel packages, KTO together with the Korean Cultural Center, recently held a two-day Korea Winter Travel Fair at the Ice Skating Rink of SM Mall of Asia where popular ski resorts from Korea came over to introduce their winter facilities complete with amazing ski demonstrations. The event also intends to encourage travel agencies to promote and sell more Korean winter packages to travel buyers.

"KTO is a non-profit government agency, we're not supposed to sell our own packages so the travel agents are our true lifeline," says Zhu. "Our job is to promote Korea and make strong connections with Philippine outbound travel agents, airlines and the media. That's why we're very thankful to the Department of Tourism (DoT) especially to Assistant Secretary and Tourism Promotions Board COO Domingo Ramon Enerio III, for all his support in introducing us to the travel agents and backing our promotion efforts."

In 2011, 337,268 Filipinos visited Korea with a 13.4 percent growth rate. But according to Zhu, only 20 percent or 68,000 of the arrivals are leisure travelers, a far cry from the 1 million Korean tourists who visited the Philippines last year.

"The Philippines is the 5th tourist market for Korea and it is still growing. That's why the KTO decided to open its first office here in Manila on May 30 of this year. We want to reach out to more Filipinos in promoting our country and provide a wider range of prices to make Korea a more affordable destination for everyone," Zhu says.

From January to October of this year, 53,228 Filipinos traveled to Korea with a 19 percent growth rate compared to 44,555 arrivals during the same period in 2011. Zhu is optimistic that these numbers will double next year due to the strong economy of the Philippines and the scores of international events to be held in Korea in 2013 like the Korean Grand Prix, Korean Traditional Medicine Expo and the World Garden Expo.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino
    Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino

    Philippine military and commercial aircraft will keep flying over disputed areas in the South China Sea despite Chinese warnings over the airspace, President Benigno Aquino said on Monday. "We will still fly the routes that we fly based on the international law from the various conventions we entered into," Aquino told reporters when asked whether the Philippines accepted China's position. The Chinese military last week ordered a US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane away from airspace …

  • Philippines seeks stronger commitment from U.S. in South China Sea dispute
    Philippines seeks stronger commitment from U.S. in South China Sea dispute

    The Philippines is seeking a "stronger commitment" from the United States to help its ally, the defence minister said on Monday, as China asserts its sovereignty over disputed areas of the South China Sea. China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year, and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims. China said on Monday it had lodged a complaint with the United States over a U.S. spy plane that flew …

  • Aquino: Philippines to fly usual routes over disputed reefs

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine aircraft will continue to fly their usual routes over disputed reefs in the South China Sea, the country's president said Monday, defying China's challenges to its planes and those of the United States. …

  • Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community
    Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community

    A “Dadbod” is a newly coined term now trending in media. It was introduced to the world by Clemson University sophomore Mackenzie Pearson as she refers to any man—father or bachelor—with a physique that’s a “nice balance between a beer gut and working out.” “It’s more human, natural, and attractive,” she adds. For this writer, […] The post Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • A weekend of premium cars
    A weekend of premium cars

    Good news to all luxury car fanatics as PGA Cars, the exclusive importer and distributor of Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley cars in the country, will be holding the PGA Cars Premium Festival from May 29 to May 31 at the PGA Center in Global City in Taguig. The 3-day event will showcase PGA’s latest […] The post A weekend of premium cars appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda
    APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda

    Trade ministers at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Boracay, Aklan agreed yesterday to endorse the proposed Boracay Action Agenda to the member countries’ leaders, presenting opportunities for global trade for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). In a press conference following the conclusion of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, who also served as chairman, said ministers agreed to recommend the adoption of the …

  • Talks with China over sea row urged
    Talks with China over sea row urged

    The Philippines should engage China in bilateral talks in its efforts to maintain peace and order at the disputed West Philippine Sea, Sen. Francis Escudero said yesterday. Escudero supports the government’s move to bring the issue before international arbitration but also stressed the need for the Philippines to pursue talks with China. Escudero made the statement after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. …

  • House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills
    House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills

    The House committee on national defense is deliberating on a measure mandating the regular conduct of disaster risk reduction drills in educational institutions nationwide. Authored by Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., the bill mandates that risk reduction drills be held annually in all educational institutions throughout the country in coordination with the schools’ respective local government units. “The Philippines’ location along the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options