In collaboration with the Visit Korea Year Committee (V.K.Y.C.), the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will help promote the 2010-2012 Visit Korea Year campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to introduce the elegance and flavor of Korea to visiting tourists, providing diverse and convenient benefits such as discount lodging programs for extended-stays welcoming events, and coupon services at various tourist spots throughout Korea. The campaign’s ultimate goal is to attract an accumulated 10 million tourists by 2012.
In an effort to promote the campaign, the Ministry has been planning and promoting the campaign long before 2010 even began. The Ministry and the Committee held the Visit Korea Year Declaration Ceremony at the Tokyo Dome in Japan in September 2009, in conjunction with Korea’s top actor, Bae Yong-jun’s book launching ceremony. Bae’s fame and overwhelming popularity in Japan helped the campaign maximize its effects in informing people of the campaign itself and its purpose. Some of the attendees at the ceremony included the Korean ambassador in Japan, the wife of the Japanese Prime Minister, the Vice Chairman of the V.K.Y.C. and Bae Yong-jun himself, as well as 45,000 Japanese citizens and 200 guests of the Committee. 40 hidden tourist spots in Korea were introduced at the ceremony along with their historical backgrounds and interesting stories behind them. It was a good opportunity to advertise and promote the 2010-2012 V.K.Y. and to make an issue of the campaign among Japanese media and people.
The Seoul Lantern Festival kicked off at Cheonggye Plaza on November 11, 2009 in celebration of the 50 day countdown before the beginning of the 2010-2012 V.K.Y. Attending the celebration were First Lady Kim Yoon-ok, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Yu In-chon, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, Visit Korea Committee Chief Shin Dong-bin, ambassadors and diplomats from overseas as well as other high-level officials. The First Lady, who holds a double role as an honorary member of the Visit Korea Committee and honorary chairwoman of the committee to globalize Hansik (traditional Korean cuisine) hoped the next few years would become an opportunity to better promote Korea’s traditional food, clothing, and architecture cultures, as well as its palaces and beautiful nature. “I hope tourists get to experience a mother’s touch in Korean food.” she said. Meanwhile, Minister Yu said, “The tourism industry is the new growth engine for low carbon and green growth. Just like the marvelous rebirth of the Cheong-gyecheon Stream, we hope the Visit Korea Year Campaign will become an opportunity to promote the beauty and warmth of Korea to the world.” The event included a delightful opening ceremony and concert by Korean celebrities. The festival invited people from all over the world to Seoul to light a lantern, a symbol of hope and friendship. Over 10,000 lanterns from more than 20 countries worldwide emitted a magical glow along the Cheonggye-cheon Stream.
Another ceremony to declare the 2010-2012 V.K.Y. was held in Shanghai, China. In an effort to make the campaign an issue in China, the committee held a press conference, a special correspondents’ forum, a fashion show (K-Fashion Show) and a music showcase (K-Pop Night). The event helped the campaign become better known among people in China and the Chinese media, as well as contributing to the development of high-end tour products targeting Chinese VIPs. Jang Na-ra, a Korean singer/actress who is extremely popular in China, appeared in the ceremony, helping draw more attention from the Chinese media.
The aspect the Ministry is stressing the most during the campaign is hospitality, signaled by its “hospitality improving campaign” under the campaign slogan “Offer the best of Korea with your smile.” Various educational and promoting materials are being offered to the general public, stressing the importance of hospitality and how it will be connected to the success of the 2010-2012 V.K.Y. campaign.