SoKor entices Philippine firms to bring employees for incentive travels

Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The tourism office of South Korea is seeking to entice more Filipino corporations to bring their employees for incentive travels to the country.

Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) Manila manager Jinho Park said the Philippines is currently one of the emerging markets for South Korea’s meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry.

“We think the Philippines is still one of the emerging markets for the Korean MICE industry, that’s why we’re still focusing on attracting incentive groups,” Park said.

“Actually, we also try to attract and appeal for big conventions but it seems that we should have more time to attract the big groups. That’s why now we are focusing on attracting corporations here,” he said.

Park said South Korea is targeting 3,000 Filipino individuals to go to Korea as part of incentive groups this year. This is just the tip of the country’s target to attract 450,000 Filipino tourists this year.

“If we didn’t have a MERS-Cov (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) last year, we might have achieved more than 3,000 last year. We had no choice but to arrange this year’s aim a bit lower. But we have finally overcame the MERS-Cov crisis,” Park said.

South Korea currently provides support and incentives for groups traveling to Korea for MICE activities. This can range from souvenirs for groups as small as 50 individuals to financial subsidies for groups of at least 1,000 participants.

The country also boasts of modern and state-of-the-art facilities for MICE activities. Park said the mixture of modernity and culture also gives the country an edge as a major MICE destination.

The tourism official said the MICE segment currently contributes to about 10 percent of the total tourist arrivals in South Korea. However, the agency is now eyeing MICE as the new driver for growth of the Korean tourism industry.

“We think MICE is the new driver for growth because it is usually called the industry of high-value added, compared to other sectors of the tourism industry,” Park said.

Park said South Korea is targeting to increase its total international tourist arrivals to 6.5 million this 2016 from 13.23 million last year.           

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