Tourism body hopes night is right when outbreak dies down

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Tourism body hopes night is right when outbreak dies down


People visit the Han River at night during a night market event that offers a variety of games to play with friends and family and food to share. [KOREA TOURISM ORGANIZATION]

No one can predict when the travel industry will be able to get back on its feet after being hit hard by the spread of the coronavirus worldwide, yet one can’t continue to cry over spilled milk.

While the government is trying to offer immediate relief to help a travel industry struggling with cancellations and no reservations, the state-run Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) is making moves that it hopes will pay off in the future. It is gearing up to make a variety of outdoor programs for the spring to bolster the sluggish industry so that many companies can be up and running immediately after coronavirus concerns die down.

One opportunity for the industry can be nighttime travel, according to the Korea Tourism Organization. Considering that Korea is known to be generally safe to walk around even after dark and is home to numerous 24-hour shopping malls, the tourism entity thinks that working with regional governments across Korea to develop a variety of nighttime entertainment could bring some excitement to people’s travels. It also expects that the strategy will create more jobs. Some cities will have night markets running while others will highlight traditional buildings with light displays.

The KTO will put together a list of the attractions available across the country from regional governments, using data on mobile map usage from SK Telecom, and will make a directory book by mid-April. Based on the information, it will make a list of the top 100 nighttime travel attractions in the country by April 20. Information on nighttime content will also be available in English, Chinese and Japanese.

Offering things to do at night encourages people to stay an extra night in a particular city, the tourism organization said, adding that other cities have taken a similar approach to attract travelers. It quoted New York City’s 2019 report that showed a 19 billion won ($14.9 million) economic boost from nighttime activities, as well as creating jobs for 190,000 people.

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