Seoul, Big Apple agree to tourism partnership

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Seoul, Big Apple agree to tourism partnership

The Seoul Metropolitan Government and New York City’s tourism organization agreed yesterday to form a partnership to boost visitors between the two cities - the first time the U.S. city has done so with an Asian counterpart.

New York City has already established partnerships with London, Madrid and Sao Paulo as part of its strategy to boost the metropolis’ image and attract tourists, dubbed “I Love New York.”

As part of the agreement, New York will place Seoul’s official advertisement, “Infinitely Yours,” on electronic display boards and 70 bus stops to promote Korea’s capital to the city’s 30 million residents and tourists.

Seoul, in turn, will display posters for New York, dubbed “This is New York City,” at 133 bus and taxi stops in the capital.

“With South Korea’s status as a visa waiver country, there’s outstanding potential to further grow the volume of travel between two of the world’s great cities,” said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization. “We look forward to cultivating this important partnership to enhance our respective economies and to showcase the vibrancy and excitement our two cities share.”

Seoul expects the partnership to help the city reach its goal of attracting 10 million tourists and ranking among the world’s top cities.

“The Seoul Metropolitan Government increased its tourism budget by 10 times to aggressively promote abroad,” said Kwon Young-gyu, vice mayor of Seoul. “We expect the partnership to be an opportunity to attract foreigners to Seoul.”

Last year, 653,000 American tourists visited Korea, a 6.8 percent increase from 2009, while 223,000 Koreans visited New York City, a 10 percent rise from the previous year.

The two cities said that they would also market online, including notices on the cities’ tourism Web sites about flight deals and tourism promotions on social networking services.

Wu Gi-hong, a senior Korean Air official who attended yesterday’s ceremony for the agreement, said the airline would cooperate with the partnership by offering special promotional flights between the two cities in October.

“By expanding flights departing to New York City and improving services, we will make efforts to help travelers feel comfortable when they visit the two cities,” Wu said.


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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