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South Korea re-opens its doors to incentive travel, more MICE tourism after pandemic lull

By Adam Laurena Published Nov 11, 2022 3:20 pm

The beautiful country of South Korea is set to provide travel incentives, particularly for corporate meetings/events for different companies, as announced during the Korea Meetings, Incentives Conferences, and Exhibits (MICE) Road Show 2022 last October 14, held at The Manila Hotel.

Organized by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), coinciding with the celebration of their 10th year in the Philippines, the event convened stakeholders from the tourism and MICE industry and relayed the different benefits, assistance, and incentives that South Korea can provide large groups and companies who are traveling to this popular East Asian destination.

Strengthening ties

Hyung Joon Kim, director of KTO Manila, kicked off the event with his opening remarks, highlighting the cooperations and contributions between South Korea and the Philippines since the arrival of KTO in the country, and how the relationship between the two has improved in the past 10 years.

“I believe that the level of awareness between our countries has also increased, considering the COVID-19 pandemic situation has been coming to an end. Starting this month, Korea has lifted the tourist restrictions for pre-departure and on-arrival,” he said.

Mr. Hyung Joon Kim, director of KTO Manila and other participants of the event, flanked by mascosts

Furthermore, he believes international tourism, corporate meetings, and incentive travels play an important role in maintaining the positive bilateral relations between South Korea and the Philippines.

“I hope that tonight’s meeting will not only serve as an avenue to share a strategy in business content but also serve as a place where business and travel industries can discuss how to strengthen corporations and will support one another,” Kim said.

A partner in growth

Arnold Gonzales, acting director of the MICE Department of Tourism Promotion Board of the Philippines, traced the history of the bilateral and multilateral relations between South Korea and the Philippines, which began in 1949, and how it has affected the two countries today.

“It cannot be mentioned often enough that the historic ties and shared sacrifices between the Philippines and Korea formed a bedrock of a strong relationship that both countries enjoy today,” he said.

“This is very much evident as Koreans continuously top the Philippine tourist arrivals, especially for our beaches and for learning English. In turn, Filipinos embrace Korean culture such as the samgyupsal, dalgona coffee, K-pop music, and K-dramas, just to name a few,” he added.

However, the relationship between Korea and the Philippines, according to Gonzales, goes way beyond beaches and K-pop, saying how the Korea MICE Road Show being held in the Philippines fosters tourism development between the two countries.

“It deepens tourism cooperation between the two sides and facilitates mutual understanding between tourism industries. It also holds more meaning now that the Philippines and Korea mark 73 years of diplomatic relations and will commemorate a milestone: 75 years of ties in 2024,” he explained.

“We look to Korea as a mutual partner in growth and we continue to explore a strategic partnership that would allow increased collaboration and tourism exchange. To this end, we look forward to the governments and private sectors from both sides to work closely to expand travel and tourism programs and activities between our two nations, which will undoubtedly benefit everyone,” he further said.

Gonzales closed his congratulatory message for KTO by congratulating the organization’s efforts in organizing the Korean MICE Road Show 2022 and declaring their support in all their endeavors.

“We fully support your mission as this will generate greater inclusive growth and shared prosperity, as well as promote the stable development of our tourism industry,” he said. “We anticipate a thriving future for Korea Philippines MICE Tourism relations and we are confident that our mutual cooperation will continue to grow in the years ahead.”

Travels with benefits

After dinner and performances by artists from South Korea, different representatives of the KTO from various Korean regions, including Busan, Incheon, Gwangju, and Daejeon, among others, highlighted the various activities and landmarks travelers can go to in their respective regions, as well as the MICE-related benefits, travel packages, and incentives they can get when they travel by groups or by corporations.

These benefits, under the support program in place by the KTO, include souvenir gifts, free entrance to attractions, special welcoming events for corporate groups traveling to Korea, and many more.

With borders gradually re-opening after travels came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Korea recently lifted all entry restrictions for COVID-19 testing on pre-departure and on-arrival—whether tourists are vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Moreover, a visa is still required upon entry to the country (except for Jeju and Yangyang). As such, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines has resumed accepting visa applications and group applications for e-visa for incentive and study tours. An online visa application system is also available, replacing long, physical lines outside the Korean embassy.

Korea is prepared to provide the best experiences for MICE groups coming from the Philippines, giving them a tour they are sure to remember and cherish for a long time.


For more information on benefits, assistance, and incentives for MICE-related travels, please visit KTOs website and the official Facebook page.

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