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.
Since Cheval Blanc, an extraordinary, newly designed and refurbished 72-room hotel owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, launched in September 2021, it has been the talk of the town. Le Tout-Paris remarks about its WOW factor … and the hard-to-get reservations for the 30 seats at Plenitude, the intimate, first-floor gastronomic outlet headed by chef Arnaud Donckele, who earned three Michelin stars at Cheval Blanc Saint Tropez. Reservations are also recommended for Limbar, the ground-floor bakery/café/tea shop/bar where we watched Pastry Chef Maxime Frédéric preparing desserts and an absolute must-have for dinner at Le Tout-Paris, the 7th-floor, all-day brasserie. This brightly colored space, with its raised seating and Fauve-like floor tiles and the adjacent Milanese restaurant, Langosteria, both have access to terraces facing the Seine River, with amazing views encompassing Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower.
IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel
Nevada-based The Spa at Green Valley by Well & Being and The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being celebrate the start of 2022 with new health, wellness and spa treatments available through March 31. Both spas offer an array of treatments for guests wanting to relax and unwind before 2022 kicks into full gear.
To allow visitors to safely and responsibly enjoy their trip to Barbados, the island announced streamlined port entry protocols. Barbados’ Ministry of Health and Wellness released the following protocols for all travelers planning on coming to the island.
Located in the South Pacific, The Islands of Tahiti are just eight hours by air from California. Surrounded by pristine, crystal-clear blue waters, the 118 islands and atolls offer natural beauty, authentic island culture and unique French Polynesian style. The Islands of Tahiti are world-renowned for white-sand beaches, stunning turquoise lagoons and varied landscapes ranging from coral atolls to volcanic mountain peaks. Privacy comes naturally in The Islands of Tahiti and offers visitors the space to relax and reconnect and to be Embraced By Mana. Mana is the life force and spirit that connects all things in The Islands of Tahiti.
Mar Del Cabo launched a new luxury beach fishing experience with an interactive paella workshop for guests. The Los Cabos-based hotel offers guests an immersive experience that takes them through the journey of creating paella, starting with a fishing session.
COJE Management Group raised the bar when it comes to cuisine and cocktails. The Boston-based group, founded by Chris Jamison and Mark Malatesta, offers guests the ultimate dining experience with old-world hospitality and an array of cuisines for every guest to enjoy. With culinary director Tom Berry incorporating the cuisines he encountered during his travels to South America, Cuba, Japan, Southeast Asia and France, each restaurant has distinguished itself as a must for anyone visiting Boston and each is designed exclusively in-house using inspiration from different regions and countries around the world.
Go ahead, take a nice, deep breath. Because a Seabourn voyage is all about this moment you’ve come so far in life to embrace. It’s not an escape, it’s an arrival.