POSTED: August 16th 2011

Choi: Gangwon has all the weapons to become the winter sports hub of Asia

Governor Moon-Soon Choi is excited about the tourism investment for the region / Gangwon Province
Governor Moon-Soon Choi is excited about the tourism investment for the region / Gangwon Province

The new Intercontinental Hotel will be home to the IOC during the Games / PyeongChang 2018
The new Intercontinental Hotel will be home to the IOC during the Games / PyeongChang 2018

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA/PYEONGCHANG: Governor Moon-Soon Choi tells that Gangwon Province has plenty of ammunition for excelling with its world class hospitality as the region compounds on its winter tourism attractions.

In this second part of the exclusive interview, Governor Choi details how the area will build on the plans to host the Games and create some new and exciting winter sports tourism packages to attract visitors to start visiting the Olympic zones.

How do you feel that the decision to award the Games to PyeongChang will affect the tourism market in Gangwon?

Moon-Soon Choi: Gangwon Province, one of Korea’s best tourist destinations, is equipped with heavenly-blessed natural beauty and rich tourism resources, making it the most desired destination for Korean people according to a survey conducted by Korea Culture & Tourism Institute.

With the help of "Hallyu (Korea Wave)" and the diffusion of Korean culture around the world, the number of Southeast Asian tourists is surging and Gangwon Province is emerging as the center of winter sports in Asia.

Alongside this fact, the domestic tourists are continuously increasing thanks to the improvement of the accessibility from the Seoul Metropolitan area.

To note in particulare domestic visits increased to 91,715,000 in 2010 from 42,489,000 in 1999. Also foreign visits increased to 1,398,000 in 2010 from 667,000 in 1999.

The size of the tourism market is expected to at least be doubled  with the help of the following benefits.

First, there will be an improvement of tourism infrastructure and regional tourism development will be boosted, increasing tourism amenities and accommodation facilities on a large scale.

In particular, the growing needs in international meetings and conventions will accelerate the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) industry development.

Second there will be an improvement of awareness as attention is drawn by national and international media to PyeongChang as the Olympic Winter Games host city and visitors participating at various sports and non-sports events will help to raise awareness of Gangwon Province as an international tourism destination.

Third there will be an improvement of accessibility by way of transport improvement projects, such as the double-track high-speed train between Gangneung and Wonju, the high-speed train between Incheon and Gangneung, the Yeongdong Expressway II, etc., that will help shorten the travel time between PyeongChang and the metropolitan area.

Most specially the projects will enable people to access the Games' regions within two hours from the Incheon International Airport, thereby helping to increase the number of foreign tourists by a great extent.

And finally there will be an improvement in the level of hospitality that we can offer to stage the Games and entertain guests.

The Olympic Games will provide the opportunity to improve the quality of our tourism service to the international standard in this region. For this purpose, we are planning to intensify the region-wide hospitality campaigns and education programs.      

Considering those facts that will all come togeher to  greatly increase tourism in the Gangwon Province, we are setting up strategies to sustain tourism visits after the Games. 

From a tourism standpoint, now that you have won the Games, how do you plan to promote the region for this upcoming winter sports season?
Moon-Soon Choi: Gangwon Province plans to proactively promote winter sports tourism packages like Fun Ski Festival(targeting Southeast Asian tourists from Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, etc) and Ru Ski Festival(targeting far east Russian market). These events consist of various programs, including ski lessons, ski competitions, traditional performances, and visits to tourist destinations.

In addition, the promotion of tour packages which are connected with local winter festivals (e.g. Daegwallyeong Snowflake Festival, PyeongChang Trout Festival, Hwacheon Cherry Salmon Festival, Inje Smelt Festival) will be extended. Also we are trying to develop and advertise various travel packages targeting foreign visitors and fan events with elite level sports stars (e.g. Olympic medalists) are part of our plans.

Gangwon Province will also prepare unique and exciting tourism packages that will offer visitors beautiful nature, festivals, and the cultural heritages of the Olympic Winter Games venue cities of Jeongseon and Gangneung, as well as PyeongChang.

We will do our utmost best to make sure that Gangwon tourism will benefit the most from hosting the Games and in return we look forward to offering the Olympic Movement our world class hospitality.  

Part II of a three part series
Eungyeong Choi contributed to this article

Keywords · PyeongChang 2018 · Governor Moon Soon Choi · Gangwon Province · Olympic Games

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