The Embassy of Latvia in the Republic of Korea jointly with the national tourism organisations of the Baltic States organised the First Baltic States Tourism Seminar and individual meetings in Seoul on 15 May 2017. The event brought together 20 representatives from the central and local government institutions supervising the tourism sector and from privately-owned travel agencies in the three Baltic States – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The Latvian delegation was led by Inese Šīrava, Head of the Tourism Department at the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia. The delegation included representatives from Riga Tourism Development Bureau (LIVE RIGA), and Baltic Travel Group, Con-ex Latvia Tours Group and Estravel Latvia travel companies.
The seminar was opened by Pēteris Vaivars, the Ambassador of Latvia, who presented the first publication jointly produced by the Baltic States in the Korean language – the travel guide to the Baltics, translated at the Latvian Embassy. “In its daily contacts with people from Korean tourism businesses, the Latvian Embassy is receiving a clear message about the interest of Korean tourists in the Baltic States. I am happy that the Baltic States have agreed to jointly offer the Baltic destination as a single tourism product to Korean visitors, whose number is increasing by the year,” the Ambassador stressed. With a special focus on the centenary of the Baltic States in 2018, representatives from the Baltic States suggested to the Korean side that the coming year could be declared the Baltic Year in Korea.
The seminar included presentations of the distinctive features and attractive qualities of tourist destinations in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Lufthansa and Finnair airlines introduced the participants to the shortest and most comfortable flight routes from Korea to the Baltics. As part of the seminar, the Baltic and Korean tourism organisations and agencies held business-to-business meetings to build up new contacts and provide answers to questions of specific interests. On a final note, to mark the first Baltic States tourism seminar in Korea, the Embassy of Latvia hosted a reception to consolidate the contacts made during the seminar and networking sessions.
The event was organised by the Embassy of Latvia in the Republic of Korea and the national tourism agencies of the Baltic States, with support from the Korea Association of Travel Agents KATA, the Korea Tourism Organisation, the Seoul Tourism Organisation and Lufthansa and Finnair airlines. On 16 and 17 May, the representatives of the Baltic tourism sector were offered an additional programme: a meeting with HANA Tour and MODE Tour – Korea’s largest tourism companies; a city highlights programme offered by the Korea Tourism Organisation and the Seoul Tourism Organisation; and a meeting with officials from both organisations.
The number of Koreans travelling to Latvia and the Baltic States is steadily increasing and approaches 10,000 visitors annually. Latvia aims to reach out to larger numbers of potential travellers through tourism media and Korean travel agencies so that the figure of visitors could be raised to at least 20,000 over five coming years. Almost half of Korea’s 50 million population travel abroad every year, for the most part to the Asian countries in the immediate vicinity; however, the number of people keen on exploring new destinations in Europe is growing annually. It follows from the opinions of Korean tourism experts and Koreans who have visited the Baltic region that the Baltic States with their tourism offer is an attractive and potentially very promising destination for Korean visitors, and should be promoted more actively in Korea.
Embassy of the Republic of Latvia in the Republic of Korea
Address: 29, Hannam-daero 36-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, 04417, Republic of Korea
Telephone: (02) 796-7750
Fax: (02) 796-7753