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Beyond Seoul

Hwaseong Fortress Dongjangdae Yeonmudae, Korean traditional architecture in Suwon, the capital of Gyeonggi. (Credit: Getty Images)
Hwaseong Fortress Dongjangdae Yeonmudae, Korean traditional architecture in Suwon, the capital of Gyeonggi. (Credit: Getty Images)

Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) is urging planners and clients to look beyond Seoul and explore other Korean cities that have just as much to offer.

"There is so much more to South Korea than Seoul and shopping. We really want to promote more specifics within the local areas as there's a lot to explore, even for locals who may not know about these hidden treasures and unique experiences. 

"That's why we are developing unique venues around the country and working with local bureaus to promote team-building programmes, which are made more special with local settings," shared Kim Baeho, director of MICE planning and coordination team, KTO, on the side of the KTO MICE Roadshow 2018 held on May 10 at Grand Hyatt Singapore.

While smaller cities lack the superior infrastructure typically associated with large convention cities such as Seoul and Incheon, they make up for this with their diversity in local culture and heritage, which are great for teambuilding.

To get buyers present at the event to "detox [their] ideas" and think beyond the box, Caitrin Moh, senior MICE manager of KTO shared examples of unique to-dos around the country from mini apple-picking to fried chicken-making and swimming with haenyeo, the world-famous female divers of Jeju Island.

"We're finding that more people are getting bored of Seoul," said Eric Suh, director of sales and marketing, Bosuk Tours Ltd. Busan is an increasing popular choice for incentives, he observed, thanks to its beaches and Busan's new Marvel VR Experience.

Petite France in Gyeonggi province has also proven to be a popular attraction, according to Solene Lecoq, operations assistant manager of AJU Incentive.

The company sees a good mix of clients from Asia (mainly Hong Kong and Singapore) as well as the European and U.S. markets. 

On the considerations for picking an incentive destination, buyer Yvonne Yap, director of operations at Adecco shared that the preference of employees, cost, itinerary (a minimum of four days for Korea) and number of days are important factors.

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