15 September 2015

GTA helps South Korea with tourism recovery after MERS 

GTA supports South Korea mega-fam and recovery from tourism impact of MERS as a number of its travel agent clients from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand attend. The mega-fam will produce a force of 420 travel professionals who understand that South Korea is open for business. GTA is already running a ‘Korea Grand Sale’ with 50% off selected hotels to encourage travel.

Global travel distributor GTA is working with Visit Korea Committee and Seoul Metropolitan Government to help the destination recover from tourism impact of the recent outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). No new MERS infections have been reported in 7 weeks, so the country is turning to key travel partners to encourage inbound travel from abroad.

GTA is one of the most important sources of inbound tourism to South Korea and increased the number of room nights booked in the destination by an average 18% a year (CAGR). The company has drawn on its long-standing relationships with its travel agent clients throughout China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand and sending them to join a mega-fam of 420 travel planners and industry professionals.

Cyndi NG, GTA’s Head of Market Development and Partnerships for Asia Pacific, the Middle East & Africa, says: “Since the MERS free announcement on 28th July, it’s time to remind the world’s travellers of all they are missing here. Travel agents can be powerful advocates and spokespeople for a destination in a way that websites can never be, so we are delighted to be playing such a significant part in this initiative.

“Our strong network and long-standing relationships in South Korea’s key source markets make us a preferred partner to help hotels and destinations recover and welcome the return of visitors from around the world.”

The mega-fam marks the 2015 Seoul International Travel Mart (15-17 September) and gives international travel buyers the opportunity to see for themselves that South Korea continues to offer a wonderful welcome to all.

GTA is already running a ‘Korea Grand Sale’ with Visit Korea Committee, which offers agents 50% off 11 selected hotels for consumers. The package also provides half-price KT pocket Wi-Fi rental from South Korea Telecommunication to help visitors share their experiences of the destination and encourage more to come. As well as the familiarisation tour, GTA’s clients will spend a day meeting Korean hoteliers and the providers of destination services, experiences and attractions and enjoy a gala dinner to celebrate future cooperation.

South Korea saw visitor numbers decrease by 41% in June when the MERS outbreak in late May, according to the Korea Tourism Organization. The number of high-spending, mainland Chinese was down 45%, while arrivals from Taiwan and Hong Kong were down 76% and 75% respectively.

A number of measures have already been announced to re-boot tourism, including waiving visa fees for group travellers from China and Southeast Asia, while the K-pop industry has also been recruited, with stars signing up for a series of promotional concerts and performances both at home and abroad.