FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Won Yong | Cho Gyeonggi Tourism Organization

Jul 8, 2024

PHOTO: © GYEONGGI TOURISM ORGANIZATION

Global City Guidebook 2024

Name: Won Yong Cho
Title: CEO
Company, City: Gyeonggi Tourism Organization; Suwon, South Korea
First job: Asiana Airlines
Where to next? Santiago, Spain, to present Gyeonggi as a symbol of peace and a MICE destination

A LITTLE BIT MORE
What actor or actress would play you in a movie of your life?
Tom Cruise. His Mission: Impossible performance left a deep impression.

What would you be doing professionally if you weren’t in your current industry?
Holding key positions in three major companies, I’ve overcome corporate crises, emphasizing the importance of preventing and managing risks when faced with adversity. If I weren’t involved in tourism, I would be engaged in corporate risk consulting.

What is your favorite book, movie or television show?
I have a favorite Korean folklore story from when I was young called “The Old Man with a Tumor.” It tells the tale of a good old man with a tumor on the side of his chin and teaches an important lesson about humility.

What historical figure, dead or alive, would you love to have dinner with?
First, Gen. Yi Sun-sin, a Korean hero, to absorb his unwavering spirit as he fearlessly faced enormous enemies, leading with just 12 ships and never surrendering. Second, Abraham Lincoln, to learn from his courage in realizing equality through the unimaginable act of emancipating slaves in his time. I aim to learn from innovative approaches to uproot entrenched customs and practices.

THE BUSINESS
What is your most recent project, and what was the inspiration behind it?
For the last two years we’ve worked on the DMZ Open Festival, the only one of its kind in the world, situated in a divided nation. It was created to spread the ecological values of the Korean Demilitarized Zone and foster a sense of peace on the Korean Peninsula. In April I welcomed participants of the World Journalists Conference from 47 countries at Camp Greaves, a former U.S. military camp within the DMZ. I conveyed our Gyeonggi Province’s DMZ symbolizes not only war but also peace — a region where peace and ecology have been well-preserved for more than 70 years through the armistice, yet tension from war always looms. I am driven to transform the well-preserved ecological crisis of the DMZ into a pilgrimage route of peace and ecology.

What is your favorite aspect of the job?
After working in the private sector for more than 35 years, I am grateful to work in the public sector. Public service is itself a blessing, as it entails looking out for the nation and its citizens, prioritizing the public good above all else.

What’s the biggest business risk you’ve ever taken?
Despite the devastating impact of the pandemic on tourism and travel, I was fortunate to successfully navigate my business through it and never experienced a major business crisis. However, there have been many instances where I wished our operations had more momentum.

Who is someone you admire professionally in the travel industry?
I deeply respect the late Cho Seok-rae, former chairman, Hyosung Group. As Korean co-chair of the U.S.-Korea Business Council, he played a pivotal role in achieving the Korea-U.S. visa waiver program and furthered efforts to establish the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

AS A TRAVELER
Tell us about a travel nightmare: Traveling by bus through coastal Croatia and Slovenia, we encountered a surprising incident. When the bus stopped, thick smoke filled the windows, startling everyone. It turned out the back of the bus had caught fire. Fortunately, we safely evacuated and retrieved our belongings.

Share a comical travel experience: My family planned a trip from Vancouver to San Francisco on Alaska Airlines. We looked forward to the benefits of being members of Star Alliance, including the option to use empty seats when available. At the airport, we checked in and waited at the gate, hoping for empty seats. However, none were available, so we ended up staying overnight at the terminal. Eventually, two of us flew to San Francisco while the other two went to L.A. before returning to Korea.

What is your preferred method of travel — planes, trains, automobiles, cruise ships — and why?
I prefer traveling long distances by plane, and I particularly enjoy driving myself around in a car. I often opt for road trips, even abroad, as it allows for a vacation free from time constraints. I can plan my itinerary autonomously and enjoy what feels like a real getaway.

What has been the best example of customer service you’ve experienced during your travels? I was warmly welcomed at Yamagata Zao Onsen ski resort near Sendai, Japan. The unique terrain, known as the Snow Monsters, was charming, and the ski resort facilities were excellent. What impressed me most was when I rented skis, the resort staff prepared ski boots in my exact size in advance by referring to my previous customer records.

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FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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