Name: Jae-sung Rhee
Title: President and CEO
Company, city: Seoul Tourism Organization; Seoul, South Korea
Number of employees: 150 in the STO office
Recent project: Launching a Seoul Welcome Kit through our Seoul MICE Alliances program, which includes vouchers for extra services and goods from more than 30 partners
First job: I worked at a shipbuilding company in Masan, South Korea. As I majored in Spanish in my university years, my first project was working on ships for export to Venezuela.
Little-known fact about you: I enjoy playing golf and walking outdoors.
What innovations/initiatives do you foresee in the industry over the next years? Over-tourism is becoming an issue around the globe, and Seoul, moving forward, will focus on fair tourism. We are making sure residents and travelers can coexist and equally benefit from visitors spending time in the city. We also see technology like virtual reality allowing travelers to explore and create experiences. We want to be on the forefront of these innovations along with local experts.
Best career advice you’ve received: If you cannot avoid it, like it and excel at it.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the field? Travel as much as possible; it’s important to get a new perspective from a traveler’s point of view.
Jae-sung Rhee as a Traveler
Favorite travel memory or story: There are so many it’s hard to choose, but in 2008 my trip to Barcelona made a big impression. The architecture was amazing, and the people were charismatic. My favorite food travels have been to Bucharest, Romania, where I tried local delicacies like grilled foi gras and vintage decanted wines that breathed with flavor.
One travel tip you cannot live without: Bring a converter or two; you can never have enough. Also bring emergency medicine in case a cold or headache suddenly occurs on your travels.
Best advice for business travelers: Consult your hotel’s concierge for tips on local events and authentic dining experiences. Connect your hobbies with your destinations; I play golf on my trips if time allows and have searched local shops in Europe for LPs and records to take home.
About Seoul Tourism Organization
What events and festivals are coming to Seoul? Seoul hosts more than 200 festivals year-round for travelers to experience. In the spring and summer we offer the Seoul Summer Sale and the Korean K-Beauty Cosmetics Sales, big for travelers looking to do some shopping. In the fall and winter we have the Seoul Lantern Festival and Kimchi Festival; plus, 25 local districts have their own Christmas celebrations.
What can luxury travelers expect from a visit to Seoul? Luxury travelers have access to plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants that put a modern twist on traditional Korean food, and 5-star hotels with spectacular views of not only the city but also its natural beauty, like Namsan Mountain, Bugaksan Mountain and the Han River.
Tell our readers more about your favorite things to do and see in Seoul. There are many outdoor activities for our travelers to experience. I suggest trekking the Walled City, which takes you along green trails and historic sites like Seoul’s Hanyang Doseong (Fortress Wall). If you are looking for something more unique, the JongMyo Shrine, a UNESCO World Culture Heritage site, is dedicated to past kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty, sharing a place steeped in history and a solemn and sacred experience. To look at the rich history of Korean furniture, visit the Korea Furniture Museum, boasting 2,500 pieces set up as they would have been used in daily life. Reservations are recommended for English-language guided tours.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
For all its cosmopolitan trappings, Singapore remains, at heart, a tropical island. The city planners determinedly preserved gennery and the high groves of concrete and glass, and for a complete escape from urban bustle there still remain patches of the jungle and mangroves that covered the island when Sir Stamford Raffles first established a trading outpost here in 1819.
In this era of 6,500-passenger mega-ships, any cruise vessel conveying fewer than a thousand voyagers is considered a small ship, including high-end luxury liners, deluxe expedition ships and the world’s riverboats. The focus on many small ships is the destination rather than the conveyance, the expert chat rather than the Broadway show, the watersport rather than the casino, the scenery and culture rather than the full-service spa and specialty restaurant. Passengers make a travel style choice, forgoing the options and pleasures of a resort-sized vessel for the deeper, more immersive experience of a yacht-scaled ship.
Air Tahiti Nui resumed service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Papeete (PPT) last week. To welcome travelers back to French Polynesia, Air Tahiti Nui offers fares starting as low as $775 round-trip from Los Angeles, and $789 from San Francisco (SFO). The airline also allows a free date change on all of its tickets.
Turkish Airlines, already flying to more countries than any other airline, announced its 10th U.S. gateway: Newark Liberty International Airport. Service will launch May 21, with four flights per week between EWR and Istanbul (IST). Beginning June 1, the frequency increases to daily.
Magdalena, a Maryland Bistro in The Ivy Hotel partnered with Uncle Nearest premium whiskey to create a Preakness-inspired cocktail ahead of this weekend’s event. The Laws and Lilies libation honors the contributions of Black jockeys in the early days of American horse racing. Emmanuel S. West, Jr., director of food & beverage, The Ivy Hotel, crafted the cocktail using Uncle Nearest’s 1856 Premium Whiskey.