Mehak Sharma and Ashley Kumar (New Delhi)
On behalf of Hallyuism and the Korean Culture India Fan Club, we visited Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) on 23rd July 2021. The office is located in Gurugram, Haryana. The meeting was organized to discuss various ways in which the Korean wave can be promoted in India. We reached the office by 11 am and were greeted in a very warm manner by the staff. The meeting began with a little introduction to KTO.
KTO is the official tourism board for South Korea. To make it more interesting, they have introduced a new concept of “Kingdom Friends” which is made up of three characters, Hojong (a tiger who has come to modern Korea to become famous and represents a king from the Joseon dynasty), Mugo, and Kawoo (a bear and a magpie as Hojong’s guard and escort).
As no physical meet-ups were held due to Covid restrictions, everyone was thrilled to greet each other physically and discuss their views this time. KTO’s chairperson also joined the meeting by greeting everyone. As the meeting was about to promote South Korea as a destination for Indians, the relationship between the two countries was also deliberated. If one doesn’t know, they’ll be a little surprised to know that these two nations have a history together. 2000 years back, Ayodhya’s princess Suriratna went to Korea, married a local king, and started the Karak Dynasty.
KTO has virtual comics, content related to K-pop/K-drama, and virtual exhibitions to further promote Korea. Recently, KTO has organized a Hallyu Olympiad which can be found on Make My Trip’s website and the winner will win a trip to South Korea. They also work to promote student tours to South Korea.
There are a lot of activities that KTO is planning related to K-Beauty, mystery K-pop artists, K-food, and K-drama experience. Make sure to keep up with KTO’s social handles for more such updates!
As the discussion went ahead, a lot of important key points came up on the surface. Marketing strategy in the case of K-pop and for K-brands like Samsung and LG were highly praised. A person also stated that how these brands have marketed themselves as a brand each time when there’s a new product launch and almost everyone is aware that these brands are Korean. One more point was raised that Korean culture needs to be promoted among the elderly people as well since it may act as a restriction for a person if their parents are not much familiar with the country and may also help in overcoming any pre-conceived notions. When it comes to age, we were asked that if there’s any age bar beyond which Korean culture may not be that known. The conclusion came out to be that Korean Culture is famous debatably among the age group of teenagers to people who are in their early 30s.
Beyond K-pop, K-drama, and K-Beauty, there are a lot of ways in which Korean culture can be promoted. As South Korea is an advanced country, Architecture, Medical Fields, and Services are other aspects that could be efficiently used for the same. One said that when they watch K-Drama, there are a lot of things shown which may not be familiar to international viewers and many may be interested in knowing Korean Culture in its purest form, that old Korea needs a spotlight as well.
Travel cost plays a big role when a person is interested in visiting a place. In exceptional times of Covid, the cost of a flight is very high. If booked well in advance then it may come down to Rs 35,000-40,000. A person argued that the flight cost shouldn’t be more than 15,000 one way. Korea is expensive than India and students might have to shift to a less expensive alternative. Therefore, a package system should be there which could cover a lot of things in an economical way. When it comes to job preference and study purposes, Japan is still given preference. We were also asked to give one reason each of which excites us to visit South Korea and Japan.
As the discussion came to an end, we were given a goodie bag by KTO and then everyone headed towards Dan Bi Restaurant where we were treated to a delicious Korean lunch.
It was great to meet people sharing the same amount of passion towards Korean Culture and we had a memorable experience. What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments.