Korea World Travel Fair: Marketing Campaign


Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA) indisputably among the most popular trade destinations. According to the World Tourism Barometer, South Korea was the 6th most visited tourist destination in Asia and 20th globally with approximately, 11.1 million tourists visiting Korea in 2011 and the same continues to fall significantly following boycotts from Chinese tourists. Regardless of the benefits of tourism, Korea has been facing a down fall in the number of tourists, this is so because of economic recession as well as the Chinese tourism ban. In this light, a comprehensive marketing strategy should be deployed to attract more participant while minimizing on the impact of the ban. Along the way, tourist destination marketing has becoming an important aspect in developing and retaining the popularity of a location while enhancing the overall competitiveness of a destination. This research paper aims at devising marketing campaigns for Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA) that is set for June 2018. It will analyze and evaluate the current marketing provisions and environment. Previous studies show that consumers are attracted to digital platforms such as website destination, social media, E-marketing as well as televisions. The report also points to challenges facing Korea as a tourist destination and gives recommendations therein.

  • Introduction

Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA) indisputably among the most popular trade destination. According to the World Tourism Barometer, South Korea was the 6th most visited tourist destination in Asia and 20th globally with approximately, 11.1 million tourists visiting Korea in 2011 and the same continues to fall significantly following boycotts from Chinese tourists. Trade shows have become crucial marketing tools for a number of industries that need to exhibit their products. Additionally, trade fairs are useful generators of tourism development. To attract more visitors in Korea, the travel fair will be marketed effectively to reach a wider audience. This will increase the number of people attending the event which will have a positive impact on Korean tourism industry. The marketing program will involve use of website, social media platforms, and placing ads on TV and print media. Korean tourism industry has been affected by tourist Chinese ban. Tourist destination marketing will be useful in promoting the industry.

  • Background
  • Tourist destination Marketing
  • Destination marketing campaign for Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA)
  • Conclusion

1. Analysis of Korea

1.1 SWOT Analysis

Korea is located in East Asia. On tourism, Korea has the following strengths; first it has a wide diversity with four seasons which offers four different experiences. The region has islands, sea, countryside, and mountains. Temple stay and hanok offers a unique experience beyond classic hotels. Second it has a unique tradition of sharing, hospitality, and respect. This is promoted in the growing force in tourism experience through revived villages and temple food. Third, the country has a powerful backbone for smart tourism. The weaknesses include being too eager to be successful in the tourism sector which acts as a recipe for failure. Relying on short term solutions limiting long-term value (Kiyong, 2017). The opportunities for the industry includes growing diversity useful on promoting tourism, a common cultural heritage, and increase in foreign interest to visit the country. Threats include economic recession, Chinese tourism ban, and endangered cultural diversity.

1.2 Attraction sites

Korea has a variety of attraction sites that visitors can explore. For example, the city of Seoul, one of the cities with the highest population in the world has a rich history and sites that tourists can explore including pagodas, palaces, museums, and markets. Jongmyo Royal Shrine is one of the heritage sites with a beautiful attraction. Changdeokgung is a palace that offers an attractive site (Kiyong, 2017). Other sites include Dongdaemun Market, N Seoul Tower, national parks such as Jirisan and Seoraksan, and mountains such as Mt. Baekdusan District with a peak at 2,744m among others.

1.3 Visitors’ trend

Many people across the world visit Korea to explore the various attraction sites. Analysis shows that more Chinese people are visiting Korea attracted by the daily lives of Korean people. Other nationalists that regularly visit the country include Americans, Europeans, and Japanese. Most of the visitors seek to explore the N Seoul Tower due to its iconic power in observation. Other sites that people tourists are interested in are Bukchon Hanok Village, Jeon Alley, and Yeouido Han River Park popularly used for picnics. While some visitors visit Korea just to explore, other go for shopping especially those who visit Myeongdong. The paradise is popular for Korean cosmetics brands. Tourists visit Korea for different purposes including recreation, leisure, business, government mission, and educational purposes among others (Kiyong, 2017).

2. Statistical analysis of tourists

In 2012, more that 11 million tourists visited the Republic of Korea, making it one of the most visited region in Asia and also in the world. Most of the tourists were from China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan. The Korean Wave, which is a popular culture, has participated in attracting more tourists. The number of international tourists in Korea kept increasing since 1980 by an average of 8.2% per year. By 2014, over 14.2 million people had visited the country. The global financial crisis in 2009 affected the international tourism sector but Korea was not hit as hard (Kiyong, 2017). It was one of the countries that reported a higher growth in the sector as the recession. China is one of the largest tourism market for Korea representing more than 60% market share as of 2014 as shown in figure below.

Source: Kiyong, K. (2017). Characteristics and Prospects of South Korea’s Inbound Tourism Markets. Seoul Solution. https://seoulsolution.kr/en/content/6558

3. The Korea World Travel Fair

Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA) is indisputably one of the most popular trade destinations. The event has a history of 33 years. In Korea, the KOFTA is the largest international travel fair. More than 70 countries participate in the event with a purpose of promoting culture and tourism resources. Official tourism organizations both at home and internationally participate and sponsors the event. KOFTA seeks to strengthen competitiveness of the Korean tourism industry. It pursues public concerns through provision of different benefits enabling even the developing nations to participate in the Travel fair leading to enlarged international relations. By offering information on local and foreign tourism, KOFTA encourages sound tourism (Oh & Zhon, 2016). The trade fair develops a tourism environment aimed at attracting more tourists to visiting the exceptional features of Korea.

3.1 Economic benefits of trade fairs

Korea World Travel Fair has over time provided businesses with various benefits including reaching a target in one location, interacting face to face with professionals, availability of sponsorship opportunities, meeting of new potential partners, exploring business opportunities, and boosting of a company’s visibility. The travel fair has various economic benefits. Trade fairs involve exposing products to a target audience that is highly likely ready to buy the products. Trade fairs present an opportunity to sell products. It present an opportunity to generate sales. Employers who represent companies spend impacting the economy. Exhibitors invest to showcase their products and services and the amount they pay boosts the economy of the host country (Oh & Zhon, 2016). Attendees also have an impact on economy as they have to spend on food, sleep, and on other personal needs.

3.2 Non-economic benefits

Trade fairs offer opportunities for marketing products or services. Business people are able to market their products or services face to face, an effective means of convincing consumers. Trade fairs provides an opportunity to engage with current and potential customers. Trade fairs offers cost-effective means of networking and advertising. Though the cost of investing to showcase a business in trade fair might seem high compared to other methods of advertising, the cost of converting a prospect into a sale is much lower. Trade fairs promote a levelled marketing field. Small and multinational businesses are given access to same attendees (Oh & Zhon, 2016). Businesses are given an opportunity to assess opinions from attendees, evaluate competition, determine market potential, and initiate partnerships. Exhibitors use the opportunity to nurture confidence and trust across the supply chain associated with increased sales.

4. Korea Tourism Organization

The Korea Tourism Organization is an organization in South Korea appointed to promote tourism industry in the country. It functions under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The organization was formed in 1962 as a government sponsored corporation whose purpose was to promote tourism in accordance with the Corporation Act in International tourism. The organization also promotes domestic tourism. The organization in involved in managing various major hotels, Korea travel bureau, and training human resources responsible for supporting the sector. By opening offices in various countries, the organization has been able to attract more and more visitors into the country. Its main functions include investing in promotions aimed at attracting inbound tourists, cooperating with local governments, engaging in research and developing tourism technology, and developing resorts with a purpose of nurturing tourism industry (Oh & Zhon, 2016).

5. Pestle Analysis of the Tourism Industry in Korea

In political analysis, currently, Korea enjoys various strengths politically including power centralization, strong foreign relations with countries such as the US, and political determination for economic transformations. Challenges include military influence in politics, and weakening relationship with China (Datamonitor, 2008). The current political environment in the country is favourable and thus attractive to tourists. On economic analysis, Korea has managed to experience a steady economic growth associated with the strong economic reforms supported by the government. The powerful export sector has promoted the economic growth. However, restrictions on imports are reducing FDIs and also reducing its competitiveness in the international market (Datamonitor, 2008). On social analysis, the aging population in Korea is serving a source of attraction with many Chinese tourists developing interest on the behaviour of the population.

On technological analysis, Korea is known for technological know-how. The destination is preferred for research and design especially doe to the highly educated workforce and infrastructural facilities that are equipped. More than 900 R&D centers that engage foreign participation. In addition, the country has the highest broadband connection such developments serve as a source of attraction to foreign investors. Its strength in automobile sector draws international investors. On legal analysis, Korea gained a status of being a developed country becoming an attractive destination. However, hostility towards foreign investors limits the number of tourists with a business purpose (Datamonitor, 2008). On environmental analysis, Korea has invested in promoting national parks which serves as attraction sites. Although it has limited natural resources, the available ones are used as attraction sites boosting tourism. Based on the results of the pestle analysis, Korea is a viable tourism area and people around the globe should make efforts to visit the country and explore its attractive features.

6. Tourism Industry and Need for redesign

After Seoul allowed a US missile defence system, China barred travel agencies against selling package tours to Korea. China makes up the largest number of tourists visiting Korea. In 2016, Korea Tourism Organization expressed concerns on the overly reliance on Chinese tourists. This is because in 2016, the Chinese market grew to 48% all tourists visiting Korea (World Tourism Organization, 2010). However in 2017, the number of visitors from China fell. KTO had predicted that number of tourists would fall by approximately 27% in response to the diplomatic row with China. Korea has experienced decline in the number of Chinese tourists (BBC, 2017). With this trend, Korea needs to redesign the marketing strategy to attract visitors from other regions such as America and Middle East (Kotler and Armstrong, 2010).. Exploring other underserved destinations will help the country to reduce effects of over-reliance on one market which has proved to have adverse effects in case of any conflicts.

Tourist destination marketing refers to the management processes through which tourist enterprises identify actual and potential tourists, communicates with them with a purpose of discovering and influencing their likes, dislikes, motivations, wishes, and needs (Pike and Page, 2013).This is done at local, national, and international level and helps in formulating tourist products in accordance with the tourists to achieve ideal satisfaction. Destination marketing organizations help in marketing the destinations (Buhalis, 2000). One of the approaches used is branding. Having a unique brand is attractive however, lack of uniqueness gives competitors a competitive advantage. Another approach is use of websites. An updated website attracts more users. However, a website that is outdated risks losing potential visitors.

  • Marketing Campaign Strategies that can be incorporated

The Four Ps of Marketing are useful if incorporated properly in destination marketing. Destination marketers have been using paid advertising and media relations to promote selected destinations. However, with technology advancement, destination marketing has to consider digital marketing (Pike and Page, 2013). While marketers may have little influence on price and place, it is important to improve a visitors experience before, during, and after arriving. It is important that destination marketers focus on improving tourist experience to live a long lasting impression (Choe et al., 2017). The four PS of marketing is just one of the strategies that can be incorporated in destination marketing.

  • Website
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Online influencers
  • Mobile App
  • Traditional platforms

Marketers use websites as a means of promoting their events. However, establishing a website is not enough to attract more consumers. Getting people to visit the site in a regular basis is usually a key challenge for many businesses. To market Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA), a website will play a significant role in attracting national and international attendees (Euromonitor International and the ETOA, 2014). The website will however be unique to attract more users and have them visit the site regularly to create interest in the event. For an effective website, an employee will be assigned to specifically take care of the website. This strategy seeks to ensure that there are frequent updates on the website as required in destination marketing (Pike and Page, 2013).

Updates will made in real-time with a promise of creating a firm content stream that is new and exciting. This will help in keeping the audience back for more. The content will be unique and dynamic. In addition, the website will have a clear organization and have ease in navigation, it will have features such as media galleries, booking engines, calendars, and trip planners that are easy to navigate to enable businesses across the world to access information related to attending the travel fair. The website will be design uniquely to capture the spirit of potential exhibitors and attendees (Pike and Page, 2013). In the website updated information about the travel fair will be easily accessible to the world. To ensure that the website is effective in attracting more customers focus will be on ease of use, quality information, unique design, ease of navigation, adaptability to smartphones.

To market Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA), an Instagram campaign will be effective. The campaign will be known as ‘Real deal’. The campaign will seek to inspire local and international visitors to discover what businesses in Korea and around the world offers. The campaign will require users to hashtag their photos with the businesses they wish to see in the trade fair or products they wish to be exhibited in the travel fair. There are more than 600 million users of Instagram across the world (Euromonitor International and the ETOA, 2014). This means that utilizing the channel effectively will attract the users from across the globe. The engagement of Instagram with posted content is much higher compared to other social sites. The posts are then used as online review for the event. User-generated content is more trusted by consumers. Being a smart marketer involves using content that is user-generated (Pike and Page, 2013). Through the campaign, potential visitors will have a unique experience with the travel fair even before they attend it. This plays a significant role in creating curiosity and eventually inspiring people to attend the event.

To attract exhibitors and attendees from across the world for Korea World Travel Fair, a Facebook campaign will be launched. The purpose of the campaign, “A taste of real deal” is to inspire Facebook users from across the world to attend the travel fair. Through the campaign, users will engage in sharing businesses that are trending in their region. A Facebook page will be created for the campaign. Users will not only share the trendy business in words but also in pictures, and in videos. Then the campaign will require the users to attend the travel fair to exhibit the businesses or to have an experience of all the identified businesses in one location. People who have attended the travel fair before will be used in expressing their experiences during the previous events giving potential attendees an initial experience (Pike and Page, 2013).

What is unique about this strategy is that the previous exhibitors and planners will respond to questions or any concerns concerning the travel fair to Facebook users who express interest in the event. The campaign will involve users sharing business ideas. Videos on previous travel fairs will be shared with Facebook users to give then an experience of the event. This targets at creating a good experience before the visitor attends the event which will then be continued during the event and after. To make sure that the campaign is successful, specific people will be assigned to be responsible for the Facebook campaign. This will ensure that there is an ongoing discussion in the platform, and that all responses are given on time and in an updated manner (Euromonitor International and the ETOA, 2014). Users who refer other people to participate in the campaign and plans to attend the travel fair will receive an award of a ticket to an attraction site in Korea.

Twitter will be useful in promoting KOTFA not just in Korea by across the world (Euromonitor International and the ETOA, 2014). Several staffs will be nominated to promote the event. The event will be promoted through a hashtag ‘seeyouinKorea’. The hashtag is easy to remember and creates curiosity for Twitter users (Pike and Page, 2013). To make the approach unique, everyone will be involved in trending the hashtag including event staff, affiliates, vendors, and exhibitors. These people will help in trending the hashtag which helps in reaching as many people as possible. The tweets will focus on evoking interest and amazement part of a strategy to market the event. Additionally, the focus will be on responding to the tweets within 30 minutes which will be possible by engaging more staffs. This will ensure that the users keep engaging which increases the chances of the hashtag trending giving the event a greater exposure. To get more retweets, images of previous travel fairs that aim at getting people desiring for more will be used in tweeting. This will create an appealing experience for users even before attending the event which is associated with desire and will to visit the venue (Pike and Page, 2013).

An established blogger will be useful in marketing the event. Bloggers have many followers who are highly engaged. For creating content on a certain position, the audience is always eager to get more from the bloggers. A Youtube vlogger’s channel will be used to share a short video inviting people to the travel fair in exchange of invitation to Korea. The most important issue is to have a blogger who specialized on trade fairs or on tourism. This way the audience will be interested in what the Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA) will offer. Influencers gives a great exposure which is essential in reaching a wider audience increasing the chances of having many people attending the travel fair (Pike and Page, 2013). Through great videos on the travel fair accompanied by short videos on various attraction sites in Korea, more information will be shared with the audience within a shorter time.

Over 50% of adults in the world own smartphones. It is therefore necessary to take advantage of the phones to market the event (Euromonitor International and the ETOA, 2014). The plan is to develop a Mobile App that focuses on quality content, ongoing engagement, and a clear user interface. The App will serve several purposes including inspiring photos, and videos that paint a clear picture of the travel fair. The App will also have a booking portal through which people can confirm their attendance by placing bookings. The App will be optimized for various operating systems including Windows, iPhone, and Android. Specific event staff will be assigned the responsibility of the App to ensure that the content is new and fresh. The app will cost approximately $7,000. This requires that the app is created attentively and implemented strategically leading to repeat visits and higher recommendation levels (Euromonitor International and the ETOA, 2014). Incentive to have as many people using the app will be given. This include a ticket to one of the national parks in Korea after attending the trade fair.

To market the travel fair, ads will be placed on TV and on print media. While this approach is commonly used, for this marketing program, the platforms will be used in a unique way. On both platforms information about the date, venue, and other requirements in relation to the travel fair will be provided. In addition to the information, short videos showing what to expect in the expo will be shared. As part of the ad, attraction sites in Korea will be shared to give potential attendees as added reason to attend the event. The ads will be placed both in English and Korean since the media will mostly reach Koreans. However to reach, a wider audience the ad will be shared in online platforms where viewers across the world can access the information creating a god experience even before attending the event (Pike and Page, 2013).

For the print media, an ad will be placed to promote the travel fair. In the two platforms, focus will be to get people linking on e-marketing platforms. Therefore, the in the ads will be the e-marketing links that will encourage and motivate users to visit the links. This will eventually increases user engagement which plays a significant role in reaching a wider audience. As opposed to giving spending 75% of the ad time to communicate about the travel fair, time will be shared equally on sharing information about the travel fair and on encouraging viewers to link with e-marketing platforms. These ads will be used in giving audience a unique experience of the travel fair and have them looking forward for an even better experience during the event (Pike and Page, 2013).

Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA) indisputably among the most popular trade destinations. Although Korea has been one of the most visited countries in Asia. Its overreliance on China market has had adverse effects on the tourism sector after China boycott. Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA) helps in seek to promote Korea tourism sector and to achieve this goal, it is necessary that the event is marketed to a wider audience. Tourist destination marketing is useful in developing and maintaining popularity of an event. To market KOTFA, e-marketing specifically, a website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and mobile app will be useful in reaching a wider audience. In addition, ads will be placed on TV and print media to influence more people on Korea and the neighbouring region. Promoting the event will have people across the world in attendance which will eventually have a positive impact on Korean tourism industry. The marketing program is feasible because, first, e-marketing is a cost effective means of reaching the international audience. Second, the cost of implementing the program is by far outweighed by the potential benefits acquired after marketing the event.


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