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Gyeongsangbuk-do to promote a major transition for change and innovation to push Gyeongsangbuk-do tourism to new heights
  • date2022-02-28 17:16:15
  • writer Admin [ Admin ☎ ]
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Gyeongsangbuk-do to promote a major transition for change and innovation to push Gyeongsangbuk-do tourism to new heights
- Digitally transforming of Gyeongsangbuk-do’s tourism in anticipation of Industry 4.0 and the verse era -
- Accelerating projects for the three local cultural regions using the latest tourism trends and big data -
- Investing KRW 120.7 billion to develop tourism resources tailored to Gyeongsangbuk-do and create high-quality tourism infrastructure -


[Gimcheon Samyeongdaesa Park Peace Tower (nighttime view)]


[Mungyeong Eco Rala Giant Forest AR]


[Andong Seonseonghyeon Cultural Complex]

Gyeongsangbuk-do recently announced its plans this year to focus on revitalizing the tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the ongoing effects of COVID-19, and to push for a full-fledged transition that can help the Province take a huge leap into the post-COVID-19 era.

This commitment to tourism is in line with Governor Lee Cheol-Woo’s goal of putting “people’s livelihood and the local economy” as the top priority for his administration’s policies this year. It also fits Gyeongsangbuk-do’s aspirations to lead the region into a new age of hope by facilitating important transitions across a variety of industries.

To this end, Gyeongsangbuk-do is ready to invest KRW 143.6 billion in 2022, including KRW 120.7 billion for the “Local Tourism Resource Development Project,” KRW 4.1 billion for the “Three Cultural Zone Revitalization Project,” and KRW 18.8 billion for projects aimed at developing the tourism industry and creating jobs led by the private sector.

With these projects, Gyeongsangbuk-do plans to inject new life into the slumping local tourism industry, and promote policies tailored to facilitate a new era of tourism built upon new Industry 4.0 and verse technologies.

□ Digitally transforming of Gyeongsangbuk-do’s tourism in anticipation of Industry 4.0 and the verse era
Over the past few years, the ICT industry, which includes industries using virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR) technology, has grown at a rapid race, and most recently, verse* has emerged as a top issue. Virtual experiences on the verse have already become a daily experience for teenagers, who will become major consumers in the tourism industry within ten years.
*A compound word of “Universe,” meaning the real world, and “,” meaning artificial and abstract. It refers to a three-dimensional virtual world.

Moreover, since Expedia launched its services in Korea back in 2011, the online tourism market has been growing at a rapid pace, mostly driven by a large jump in online reservations for hotels and other accommodation options.

In 2019, online travel agencies (OTAs) accounted for 63% of lodging reservations for Korean tourism and lodging companies, which was very much in line with the overarching trend in the global online tourism industry. As such, going forward, the online tourism market in Korea is expected to grow and expand even further.

This year, Gyeongsangbuk-do plans to focus on breaking down borders with the Digital Transition (DX) of local tourism in order to firmly establish itself in the rapidly changing tourism market and take advantage of the tourism industry’s transition to online platforms.

Each city and county in Gyeongsangbuk-do (23) is looking to promote various policies to virtualize (verse) and commercialize (distribution, sales, PR, and marketing) tourism resources unique to the region online, including well-established destinations within the three major cultural spheres in the Gyeongsangbuk-do region.

Last year, Gyeongsangbuk-do offered the “Gyeongbuk Tour Pass” service, an online tourism product targeting the MZ generation who have emerged as leaders in the tourism market.

The Gyeongbuk Tour Pass is a tourist pass product that allows visitors access to major tourist attractions, restaurants, and lodging within Gyeongsangbuk-do, including destinations in the three major cultural spheres, for 48 hours using a simple barcode. It helped bring tourists to more local attractions and increased their spending. In total, 210,000 Gyeongbuk Tour Pass tickets were sold in 2021.

To build on the success the Gyeongbuk Tour Pass service enjoyed last year, Gyeongsangbuk-do is adding local cafes, accommodation options, activities, etc., to the existing list of 74 locations offering free access and 140 establishments offering discounts (coupons) to Gyeongbuk Tour Pass holders. Moreover, Gyeongsangbuk-do is looking to introduce a Pass service linked to the local public transportation system to further increase the utility and scope of the Gyeongbuk Tour Pass service.

The Provincial Government also plans to build an integrated tourism platform tailored to the region using the Gyeongbuk Tour Pass service.

This integrated tourism platform will deliver economies of scale benefits by registering tourism products in an integrated platform, and negotiating fees/discounts with private platforms at the Provincial level. In addition, the platform will improve the product distribution in the long term by establishing a feedback system that uses big data on product sales performance acquired through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) linked with private platforms.

As part of a pilot project in 2022, Gyeongsangbuk-do is ready to build a verse at “Mungyeong Eco-Rala,” a tourism complex within the three major cultural spheres.

Also, existing private verse platforms (Zeppetto, Ifland, etc.) will promote academy and hackathon events to develop local creators active in some of the major tourist destinations across Gyeongsangbuk-do. This will help ensure the sustainability and self-reliance of tourism in Gyeongsangbuk-do through the verse platform.

Depending on the performance of these pilot projects, participating businesses within the platform will relocate to create a business model led by the private sector that can promote, market, and sell various local products. At the same time, these businesses will host local festivals and events both online and off-line to review the possibility of creating an O2O (no division between online and off-line activities) platform going forward.

□ Identifying successful models for places of business in three major cultural spheres, promoting tourism assets across Gyeongsangbuk-do
Based on the achievements of projects aimed at promoting tourism in the three major cultural spheres, Gyeongsangbuk-do will focus on identifying successful models this year by promoting projects to revitalize places of business by cooperation with cities and counties as well as the local private sector.

In addition, the Provincial Government is hoping to create tourism resources unique to Gyeongsangbuk-do that can be passed on to future generations.

To do so, it plans to develop themes and immersive tourism experiences that are available only in Gyeongsangbuk-do by identifying and producing content tailored to different destinations in each city and county. Moreover, the Provincial Government plans to maximize the synergy effect of public relations marketing between business sites by promoting the overarching “HI STORY Gyeongbuk” brand and offering online tourism products that span various cities and counties.

□ Developing attractions in the three major cultural spheres as the core of the “Gyeongsangbuk-do Wellness Cluster”
In 2021, Gyeongsangbuk-do focused on executing projects to promote tourism and revitalize the three major cultural spheres despite the difficult circumstances brought on by COVID-19.

One major project involved boosting the competitiveness of Gyeongsangbuk-do’s wellness tourism industry with immersive “visit-and-stay” tourism programs in line with the recent growth of “wellness tourism” in Uljin, Yeongdeok, and Yeongyang, which are all within the three major cultural spheres.

“Uljin Geumgangsong Ecorium,” a major wellness tourism attraction, is a visit-and-stay recreation facility built in a pine forest at Sogwang-ri (Solpyeongji), Geumgangsong-myeon. It features the Geumgangsong Healing Center and an exhibition hall dedicated to Geumgangsong pine trees.

Inside the exhibition hall, visitors can learn the history, culture, ecology of the Geumgangsong pine, as well as the agricultural heritage system for Geumgangsong pine trees operated by Uljin-gun.

This year, Gyeongsangbuk-do plans to respond to changing tourism trends by promoting projects that can produce highly customized content, such as a Nordic-style trekking program through the Geumgangsong forest and a regular concert program inside the forest.

Meanwhile, “Yeomyeong” (Travel and Meditation), a “healing center” focusing on culture and arts located in Jangsu-myeon, Yeongdeok-gun, is a Hanok complex near Jangyuksa Temple (Yeongdeok-gun is a “Clean Air Special City”). This facility offers healing programs such as meditation programs, Qi exercises, and healthy food experiences led by expert instructors.

In 2022, Gyeongsangbuk-do’s goal is to play a leading role in domestic wellness tourism by offering luxury and immersive wellness experience programs, creating a wellness market (online shipping), and hosting the “International HI Wellness Festa (tentative name)” in collaboration with India, a country considered an emerging power in the wellness industry.

Gyeongsangbuk-do is a region known for delicious foods and delicacies, which play a major role when tourists plan their itineraries. Thus, the Jang Gye-hyang Cultural Experience Training Center in Yangyang, which uses content inspired by Korea’s first cookbook written in Korean text, the “Umumdimibang,” plans to identify and develop tourism products featuring gourmet experiences that offer a fresh new take on local delicacies, specialties, and traditions.

To expand the market and target individual visit-and-stay tourists, and also grow beyond small-scale MICE tourism driven by tourism products for existing institutional and group tourists, Gyeongsangbuk-do will focus on preparing various immersive tourism products with projects to support the revitalization of tourism. If these efforts are successful, 2022 will become a turning point for tourism in Gyeongsangbuk-do.

□ Experiencing various types of visit-and-stay products at Hanok houses, campsites, and more
Tourist destinations in the three major cultural spheres are contributing significantly to improving the tourism infrastructure in areas where visit-and-stay tourism was not a viable option in the past due to the lack of accommodation facilities.

Taking advantage of the fact that Gyeongsangbuk-do is home to the largest number of World Heritage sites in Korea, such as historic houses, Seowon Confucian academies, and temples, the Provincial Government has opened 250 Hanok accommodations across the Province.

Since the onset of COVID-19, camping is fast becoming a popular travel option. As such, campsites that offer travelers a chance to enjoy outdoor activities in a safe environment and enjoy beautiful natural landscapes, as well as access to immersive programs and exhibition facilities across Gyeongsangbuk-do, are earning more attention from consumers.

□ Establishing a tourism infrastructure that boosts the appeal of Gyeongsangbuk-do as a tourist destination by developing tourism resources tailored to the region
This year, Gyeongsangbuk-do is investing a total of KRW 120.7 billion in 78 regional tourism resource development projects.

By doing so, it will promote the new “Hallyu” wave and foster the future tourism industry to solidify its position as a leader in global tourism and create a stable foundation on which it attracts domestic and foreign tourists once the pandemic is over.

In Andong, which was selected as a regional tourism hub city in 2020, Gyeongsangbuk-do will invest KRW 97.6 billion over a six-year period (until 2025) to support 19 projects, including projects aimed at identifying and producing signature content for Andong as a tourism hub, revitalizing content on Confucianism and Confucian practices, and building a smart integrated tourism information system.

To this end, Andong will cooperate with ten cities and counties in the northern Gyeongsangbuk-do region to transform itself into an attractive tourist destination perfect for the new normal (post-COVID-19) era. The ripple effects of this project are expected to play a significant role in revitalizing local tourism.

Moreover, to boost the competitiveness of Gyeongsangbuk-do tourism, the Provincial Government plans to focus on promoting policies such as the tourism facility environment improvement project, the youth intern system project, the cultural tourism commentator capacity building project, and the tourism promotion fund support project.

Gyeongsangbuk-do Governor Lee Cheol-Woo said, “The tourism industry is going through some tough times at the moment because of COVID-19. But I am confident we can turn crisis into an opportunity for new growth and a leap forward for tourism.” He added, “We will do our best to usher in a new era of tourism in Gyeongsangbuk-do, and make tourism, which is often called an ‘industry without a chimney,’ a driving force for the livelihood and economy of local residents.”
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