For four days from April 4 to 7, Korea Travel Expo in COEX Exhibition Hall opened its doors for the 15th time. What distinguishes it from the previous ones, is now, for the very first time, the expo has invited foreign nationals to join the locals in representing Korean regions ? and some HUFSans gladly took the opportunity.
Korea Travel Expo is hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism under the supervision of the Korea Tourism Association. It has been held every year since 2004 in order to increase interest in domestic traveling, encourage information exchange and ecotourism and help local economies, especially in lesser known regions of South Korea, which are often overshadowed by more popular tourist attractions. The exposition represents more than 150 local governments from cities and provinces throughout the entire country. Seoul does not participate in the event to give the “spotlight” to other places in the country.
Every year, the expo takes a different approach with a new theme, this year’s theme being “What is the night trip of your life?” As the title implies, visitors of the exhibition encountered a lot of night imagery ? stars and moon themed photo zones, telescopes, and promotions of night markets all around Korea.
During the four days of the event, visitors were exposed to cultural experiences, such as painting with botanical dye, calligraphy, activities for kids and so on. Visitors were also able to purchase locally produced items that are not available in Seoul, as well as witness dance and singing performances by both Koreans and foreign nationals.
Remarks from a HUFSan
Tako Chkhartishvili, a Georgian exchange student at HUFS, who helped to represent Gyeonggi Province at the expo said, “The event was really enjoyable, and I consider it to be a great opportunity for me not only as a volunteer, but also for my professional career, as my major is related to East Asia. It broadened volunteers’ knowledge a lot, especially about areas outside Seoul ? we learned what they do, what they are famous for and so on. It really had it all ? entertainment, engaging activities and interesting performances. We got to wear Hanbok, Korean traditional clothing and present different regions. Some of us even did that in Korean, which is amazing, considering we come from all over the world and learned the language out of love for the culture and the country. I would gladly agree to participate again and again if I had the chance.”
Such travel exhibitions are crucial to help local tourism grow. It is admirable that this year, the organizers of the event took it one step further by introducing the concept of foreign exhibitors to help attract more people and encourage information exchange not only between cities and provinces within South Korea, but also between South Korea and other foreign countries.
By Gintare Ziceviciute