Name: Byung-Tae Kim
Title: CEO and president
Company, city: Seoul Tourism Organization
Number of employees: 125
Recent project: Creating local, authentic experiences for MICE visitors through new initiatives
First job: Ahead of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, I noticed the only atlas maps were in Korean, and I published the first atlas maps of Korea in English, Chinese and Korean just in time for the event.
Little-known fact about you: For my mandatory military service, I was stationed in the DMZ, quite rigorous and tough but a rewarding and memorable experience.
What innovations/initiatives do you foresee in the industry over the next years? Travelers no longer want to merely observe the local culture but rather immerse in it. That’s why we launched two new initiatives. The Discover Seoul Pass allows visitors to customize what they want to see; they can visit 16 top Seoul attractions in 24 hours for $37, and a 48-hour pass will be released soon. OneMoreTrip.net enables visitors to book unique local experiences like Korean brewery tours, barbecue tours and traditional tea drinking with foot baths. Following the mobile IT trend, the Pass offers an official mobile app that displays detailed information about attractions and the time left on the pass, while One More Trip lets sellers and purchasers conduct transactions on the website.
Best career advice you’ve received: There’s always something to learn by observing others. Don’t just pick up the strengths and best traits from talented and successful individuals but also observe aspects to avoid to prevent making the same mistakes.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the field? I strongly believe in the benefits of partnerships and wrote a book on the topic. There’s a limit to what you can achieve on your own, but the possibilities are endless when you partner. A good partnership makes up for each other’s weaknesses and strengthens each to do more.
Byung-Tae Kim as a Traveler
Favorite travel memory or story: As a travel agent, I took a VIP fam tour in Canada with a big group. When we had the opportunity to zipline, I volunteered to go first. Everyone was surprised, but they didn’t know that in my military service I rappelled from helicopters in the air. That, and the colorful socks I wore, apparently made an impression, as I was nicknamed “Mr. Socks” and even received bright red socks as a parting gift!
One travel tip you cannot live without: I research the destination beforehand including its history, top attractions and popular trends. It helps me appreciate the destination even more
Best advice for business travelers: Don’t overlook your health. Preparing your body before a trip with plenty of rest, exercise and a good diet ensures you’re at your best and ready for business as soon as you arrive.
About Seoul Tourism Organization
What can premium travelers expect from a visit to Seoul? Business and leisure travelers alike can expect a complete convention city, fulfilling their transportation needs with subways, buses and Uber to a range of accommodations from boutique hotels to large luxury complexes. They can shop at the largest range of duty-free stores in Seoul or experience our casinos. For a traditional view, travelers can walk through one of the royal palaces or the Korean War Memorial Museum and take tea at traditional tea houses. The experience starts with Incheon Airport, which has won best airport for 12 years and will expand as Terminal 2 is completed next year.
Tell our readers about Seoul Sky. Seoul Sky is part of the larger Lotte World Tower complex that fully opened in April. It’s currently the fifthtallest building in the world, and Seoul Sky is the world’s third-highest observatory, giving 360-degree views of Seoul and as far away as Incheon to the west. The deck will have a glass bottom for the more daring traveler.
What MICE offerings are available for travelers to Seoul? Seoul’s MICE program has a complete support system. We offer groups a range of tools and support from promotions, bidding, subventions and site inspections to welcome messages for guests at their airport arrival. STO can provide customized city tours that work best for your group and stay, with options like a full day of gastronomy experiences or a tour of palaces over a few days.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
FOR THOSE OF US PASSIONATE about wellness pursuits and who feel most at peace close to the sea, there’s nothing quite like the synergy offered by a floating spa integrated into the setting of a luxurious cruise ship. I’m sailing through the Mediterranean from Rome to Barcelona, discovering along the way that the Crystal Life Spa & Beauty Salon on board the Crystal Serenity provides not only the element of high-end indulgence but also the cruise line’s signature commitment to attention and service.
CONSIDERING THAT JUST A LITTLE more than a century ago — 1910, to be exact — Miami’s population was only about 5,400 people, it’s easy to see why this South Florida hot spot has long been considered a boomtown. And the evolution continues to impress as the city gears up to welcome an array of new services, amenities and experiences.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Ethiopian Airlines added a daily non-stop between Brussels (BRU) and Addis Ababa (ADD). The carrier previously made stopovers in Vienna (VIE) three days a week, increasing the journey time from seven hours to nine.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Last month, British Airways announced plans to offset carbon emissions from all its flights within the United Kingdom. The initiative begins next year and carbon emissions are offset via the United Nations’ carbon offsetting scheme, which invests in carbon reduction projects around the world, such as reforestation and rainforest protection.