Korea needs better tourism infrastructure

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Korea needs better tourism infrastructure

Thailand is visited by 30 million foreign tourists and boasts beautiful seaside resorts and long history. Singapore has few tourism resources but is visited by 15 million tourists. Which country is more competitive in tourism?

The 2015 tourism competitiveness report by the World Economic Forum, also known as the Davos Forum, ranks Thailand at 35th place and Singapore at 11th place. How can this be possible? No matter how great tourism resources may be, they won’t be competitive without industrialization.

In the same study, Korea was at 29th place, still far behind its neighbors like Japan (9th), Hong Kong (13th) and China (17th). Korea got low marks in tourism service infrastructure (70th), tourism policy priority (71th place) and the government budget for the tourism industry (93rd).

Now, Korea needs a long-term master plan for the tourism industry’s development. Considering the significance of tourism industry to increasing the size of the national economy, vitalization of local tourism is a must. Strategic investment for infrastructure is necessary. Also, concerts, festivals and exhibitions as well as transportation, accommodation, food, shopping and guides are important.

Japanese government began to develop tourism infrastructure from the 1980s, and more than 20 million foreign tourists visit the country every year. Lately, it has been focused on expanding domestic tourism by developing local attractions and regional tourism routes. Last year, China opened Shanghai Disneyland, and real estate and entertainment conglomerate Wanda Group announced an ambitious plan to build 15 to 20 theme parks named Wanda City to compete against Disneyland.

A leading tourism country is equipped with the overall foundation for the tourism industry to become the basis of the country’s economic cycle.

Furthermore, all citizens enjoy enhanced satisfaction through tourism. If the government wants to promote tourism as the industry of the future to vitalize the domestic market, the most urgent task would be systematic and consistent investment in tourism infrastructure.

Jeong Chang-su,
CEO of Korea Tourism Organization
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