Put together by the Korea Tourism Organisation, the two-day Korea Culture and Tourism Festival took place at the Ambience Mall, Gurugram from 25-26 November. The festival aimed at showcasing the richest aspects of Korean culture, art and heritage for an Indian audience, and to encourage Indian tourists to visit South Korea. Dignitaries like the Executive Vice President, Korea Tourism Organisation, Min Hong Min, along with Suman Billa, Joint Secretary Ministry Of Tourism, India, were among those in attendance.

Day one began with the inauguration ceremony, which was attended by delegates from regional tourism boards of South Korea and related organisations. Organisations like Gyeonggi Tourism Organisation, Gimhae City, Busan Metropolitan City, Jeollabuk Do, Gwangju Metropolitan City, Gwangju Convention & Visitors Bureau, Incheon International Airport Corporation and Visit Korea Committee also actively participated in the event.

Jong Sool Kwon, Director Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) said, “Korea Tourism Organisation is entering a new dimension of tourism promotion in India with the festival. Travelling to Korea for Indians is getting more favourable with increased flight connectivity and competitive costs. With increased number of Indian travellers to Korea, we would get more adaptable to their travelling requirements.”

He further added, “Four distinct seasons such as spring flower, colourful autumn leaves, and winter snow is another charm of Korea for international travellers. Pyeongchang would be hosting the 2018 Winter Olympic Games and is emerging as a top winter travel destination in Asia. The festival was a great platform for us to communicate on all that Korea has to offer to its travelers and we hope the endeavour will go a long way.”

The inaugural event was followed by a lamp lighting ceremony, after which two famous Korean performances were hosted at the venue. A performance by the popular South Korean dance troupe Gambler Crew set the stage on fire with their. Then, ti was time for “Nanta”, a non-verbal performance, which showed the inside view of a Korean kitchen. The artistes mimicking chefs made it a great act. The rhythmic beats made by knives and utensils left the audience stunned till the very end. The comic element in the act just added more fun to the evening.

Speaking at the inauguration, Suman Billa said, “India and Korea have a historic relationship which dates way back in time. And given that the two countries share a past, we have tremendous amount of economic engagements in between. Many investments are also being done by Korea in India. Another is India and Korea also shares a number of strategic engagements. Apart from this, the economic and historic dimension that we have is also significant to understand each other’s culture, and for that there is no better instrument than tourism to bring that everlasting connection on each other’s minds.”

A detailed walk through the famous places of Korea was also made available via stalls ,where the staff briefed the crowd about the famous cuisines, cities, landscapes, seasons and even the weather of South Korea. Stalls from famous cities of the country were among the star attractions at the fest.

A chain of numerous stallswere also set up in the midst of the mall that was open to all shoppers and visitors. The stalls featured activities like facemask painting; Korean calligraphy-Hangeul; and Tohu, a traditional Korean game among much else. Photo booths were set up for the visitors to get themselves clicked wearing Korean traditional Hanbok dresses, a with customised background. In addition to this, the K-Beauty zone by famous Korean beauty brand Innisfree offered free make-up sessions and samples to the visitors at the fest. It proved to be a huge crowd-puller. Free souvenirs were also distributed among the crowd.

Speaking about vision behind Korea Culture and Tourism Festival 2017, Min Hong Min, Vice President, Korea Tourism Organisation, told Guardian 20, “We are basically trying to promote tourism of Korea here in India. We have managed to organise a lot of fun activities at this event. We have small food joints so that people here can enjoy Korean food. We have also arranged some Korean traditional dance and music performances.”

Talking about the famous tourist destinations of South Korea, Min said, “I will recommend Seoul, the capital city of Korea as the most fascinating tourist spot as it is the hub of all Budhhist temples, palaces, and different markets. Another I will say, Jeju Islands is a famous tourist destination as well. Pyeongchang County is also good and is about to host Winter Olympic Games next year in February.”

Nanta Performance at the Korea Culture and Tourism Festival.

He added, “It is my second visit to India this time. Geographically speaking, India is at a far distance from Korea. However, historically and culturally, the two countries share a close relation. In India, I got a chance to visit the most famous palace of Agra, Taj Mahal. It was really beautiful.”

A detailed walk through the famous places of Korea was also made available via stalls, where the staff briefed the crowd about the famous cuisines, cities, landscapes, seasons and even about the weather of Korea. Stalls from famous cities of S. Korea namely, Jeollabuk Do, Seoul, Gwangju and many more were the star attraction of the event. Food counters were set up to bring the local Korean flavours to all Indian food lovers.

“After visiting every stall here, it has come to my notice that Korea is actually an amazing country. I was not that aware of its beauty earlier. But I am going to consider it for my next vacation. The idea of bringing their culture is good and I am also enjoying the all the fun activities here.” said Pratibha, a visitor at the event.

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