09.24 Mon

Culture

Seoul encourages locals to explore their city

Aug 27,2018
President and CEO of the Seoul Tourism Organization Rhee Jae-sung, above, introduces a plan to launch the Discover Seoul Pass for locals. The travel card, right, is currently only available to foreign tourists. [SEOUL TOURISM ORGANIZATION]
The Seoul Tourism Organization has announced plans to help Seoulites better enjoy their city. Shifting from focusing on marketing the city to overseas travelers, the tourism organization’s new target is locals.

The move comes as a means to provide locals with things to do during their free time after the national 52-hour workweek went into effect last month. The capital city sees this moment as an opportunity to show people who never get to explore their own city what the local tourism industry has to offer, which has been struggling with less travelers from China due to issues surrounding the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system.

“There are so many different travel resources all across Seoul,” said Rhee Jae-sung, President and CEO of the Seoul Tourism Organization at the company’s first press conference.

“We will commercialize those resources, and promote many places and things to do that people haven’t been able to experience just because they didn’t know they were there.”

For starters, it is making a local version of the popular Discover Seoul Pass. The travel pass is a card with which foreigners can visit major tourist spots and museums, and get discounts to some performances and at duty free shops. It works as a transportation card as well, so it is popular with international travelers when traveling around Seoul.

To make Seoul exploring easier for Seoulites, the organization is in the process of making the same card with benefits that better suit local needs. Many options are being considered, said June Lim of the organization’s Strategic Business Team, such as discounts to movie theaters or adding debit or credit card functions. The card will be available to Seoul residents next year.

“What we are trying to do is to make getting around Seoul convenient and fun for those who live in Seoul, so we are considering many different options,” said Lim.

“Although the service at the moment is targeting Seoul residents, the benefits that come with the cards may include some options available outside of Seoul, as we always look for ways to cooperate with other regions.”

Besides the card, the organization also plans to make a “travel-support center,” where locals can get information about things they can do and places they can visit close to their home, as well as quick within-the-city getaway spots. In order to attract more people from outside of Seoul to the capital city, it will also work with regional offices and companies to promote Seoul as a destination for meetings and conferences.

BY LEE SUN-MIN
[summerlee@joongang.co.kr]
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