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5 Tips on South Korea for Travel Advisors

There are few more exciting destinations right now than South Korea. South Korean music and movies are popular around the world and Korean food has become a staple in most international cities. A team of our expert Destination Specialists and Group Specialists recently visited South Korea to experience its cultural appeal for themselves and get some updates about the country.

Our team started in Seoul, where they explored the city’s historic palaces, temples, and modern shopping centres, including the lively shops of Insa-dong. After a day trip to the nearby DMZ with North Korea, the team connected to Andong and Gyeongju to tour the Hahoe Folk Village, visit the Confucian Academy, and enjoy a temple stay. The journey capped off in coastal Busan where they saw famous Haeundae Beach, enjoyed a cooking class, visited Gamcheon Cultural Village, and explored the Songdo Sky Park.

They enjoyed a broad variety of activities and are more equipped than ever to help you plan the perfect trip to South Korea for your clients. Out of all the experiences and things they learned, these are five essential tips that you should know when selling trips to South Korea.

1. Seoul is a super clean, modern metropolis. 

With over 25 million people living in the greater metropolitan area, the South Korea capital is one of the biggest and most bustling cities in the world, with no lack of attractions. But it’s also one of the cleanest and friendliest big cities you’re ever likely to visit. 

“I hadn’t been to South Korea before, so everything was new for. The city is clean, transportation is reliable, the shopping is good, the food is great, and the people are friendly.” — Heather Varga, Group Specialist 

“How clean it is really surprised me. I was also surprised by how safe it felt to visit as a woman. It’s a great spot for solo female travellers. People should be prepared to shop, though.  Shopping is everywhere and seems to be heavily engrained in the culture.”  — Brieanah Fuller, Destination Specialist 

2. Busan is a beautiful coastal city with great shopping. 

Often considered South Korea’s second city, Busan is a wonderful coastal destination with great views and cultural attractions. Even if your clients only have a few days in Korea en route to other destinations in East Asia, try to fit in Busan. They won’t be disappointed. 

“The vibe in Busan was familiar and comfortable. It also offered beautiful vistas by the sea.” — Susan Moore, Reservations Manager 

“Busan is a vibrant city with a lot of activities. It has great food, nightlife, shopping, and beaches. There are lots of activities and places to see here.” — Heather Varga, Group Specialist 

“Busan’s markets offer an array of fresh seafood, local delicacies, and street food snacks, providing visitors with an authentic taste of Korean cuisine and culture.” — Frank Lin, Group Specialist 

3. Cultural villages offer unique ways to get in touch with Korean culture. 

There are many cultural villages across Korea. Our team visited a few, including the Hahoe Folk Village in Andong and Gamcheon Cultural Village in Busan. These villages recreate traditional homes, showcase clothing and lifestyles from centuries past, and offer a tactile glimpse into Korean cultural history. 

“The Hahoe and Gamcheon cultural villages were probably my favourite parts of the trip. They were very unexpected to me. They weren’t busy at all and were very interesting.” — Brieanah Fuller, Destination Specialist 

“I liked all traditional villages. They were highlights of the trip.” — Harpreet Litt, Destination Specialist 

“I really enjoyed Andong and the cultural village. It was a very traditional, eye-opening experience.” — Susan Moore, Reservations Manager 

4. The DMZ is a fascinating spot your clients shouldn’t miss. 

The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is only a couple hours north of Seoul and offers a glimpse into the secretive world of North Korea. Established at the end of the Korean War when armistice was signed (technically, both countries are still at war), the DMZ bisects the Korean peninsula and separates the two nations at all points. By virtue of being uninhabited by both nations, the area has also become something of a nature preserve, with abundant animal life thriving in the 2.5 mi (4 km) boundary between the nations. 

“Visiting the Demilitarized Zone near North Korea offers a stark reminder of the ongoing tension between the two Koreas.” — Frank Lin, Group Specialist 

“The DMZ was pretty cool, and I would highly recommend it to my clients.” — Brieanah Fuller, Destination Specialist 

“Some people might mistake that Korea is not safe due to the conflict with North Korea. This is a misconception. It’s very safe, but it’s also interesting to learn about the relationship with North Korea at the DMZ.” — Harpreet Litt, Destination Specialist 

5. Korea is a great intro destination to Asia. 

If your clients haven’t visited Asia before, South Korea makes for a great introduction. They’ll have a familiarity with the culture from movies, TV, and pop music, and will likely enjoy a dish or two, whether Korean barbeque or bibimbap. It’s easy and safe to navigate on your own, many people speak English, and the country has all the amenities (and more) that people are used to in North America. 

“Korea is a great introductory destination to Asia as a whole and could serve as a nice alternative to more expensive Japan.” — Heather Varga, Group Specialist 

“South Korea is a great place for female travellers and those who are wanting a similar trip to Japan on a cheaper budget.” – Brieanah Fuller, Destination Specialist 

“My top tip for travel advisors selling South Korea is to tailor experiences to the country’s diverse interests, highlighting the unique neighborhoods in Seoul, bustling markets in Busan, culinary delights, and natural beauty. – Frank Lin, Group Specialist 

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