The CEO of Korail Tourism Development, a unit of state rail operator Korea Railroad Corp., said Monday he aims to invigorate the local tourism industry by offering unique and green tourism products to foreign nationals looking to explore South Korea.
"We have focused until now on revitalizing the tourism industry for domestic travelers. However, our new aim is to focus on attracting overseas tourists to help the nation's tourism industry take a next step," said Kwon Shin-il, CEO of Korail Tourism Development, during an interview with Herald Business, the sister paper of The Korea Herald.
Prior to assuming office, Kwon previously worked as a policy researcher for the Culture, Sports, Tourism, Broadcasting and Communication Committee at the National Assembly, an administrative officer for public relations at the presidential office, and an adjunct professor at Hanyang University's Graduate School of International Tourism.
Specifically, he said Korail is channeling efforts into creating travel products designed to help foreign travelers experience the traditional culture of Korea across various regions including Seoul, Gangwon Province, Jeolla Province, Busan and Gyongsang Provinces, using tour trains.
"Thanks to the concerted efforts of over 250 local governments across the nation to enhance the tourism industry's infrastructure, a favorable landscape has been shaped to operate tour trains. We will work with local governments to amplify the efforts and propel tour trains to grow into key players of K-tourism," he said.
For example, Kwon said Korail is currently operating distinguished theme tourist trains including the Haerang, Paldo Market Tour Train, Sea Train and Railbike.
The efforts to bolster local train tourism follow the trend to travel green, says Kwon.
According to the CEO, to travel from Seoul to Busan, cars emit 66 kilograms of carbon dioxide per person, whereas rail transport emits only 11 kilograms.
"Our primary objective is to provide customers with valuable tourism content and make dedicated efforts to drive local economic growth by facilitating domestic consumption. We will rally the efforts of our entire employees to ensure that tourist trains play a critical role in K-tourism," said Kwon.